Commencement 2024

We toast the 117th Commencement Class with ceremonies, thesis exhibitions, and capstone events alongside digital experiences like the 2024 Showcase.

Cause for Celebration

Tams off for a job well done!

We commemorate the commencement class of 2024 with ceremonies on Saturday, May 11. After years of creative and academic dedication, these students are ready to take steps forward on to new challenges and into their professional practices. Our programming celebrates their momentous scholarly achievements with events and festivities.

“Congratulations to the 2024 graduating class! You are not merely creators, but also problem solvers who offer fresh perspectives to complex challenges. You wield powerful tools — literally and figuratively, for social change, advocating for inclusivity, equity, and sustainability in our communities. We celebrate your extraordinary accomplishments.”

— David C. Howse

CCA President

By the numbers

CCA’s 117th Commencement Class represents students across 20 undergraduate and 13 graduate programs:

  • Youngest graduate: 20 years, 11 months
  • Oldest graduate: 61 years, 5 months
  • Countries represented: 24
  • U.S. states represented: 21
  • First-generation college students: 93

Honorary doctorates and professors emerit

CCA is proud to award honorary doctorate degrees to inspirational artists, designers, and thinkers during its Commencement ceremonies.

This year, CCA is thrilled to announce Deborah Willis and Hank Willis Thomas as the Honorary Doctorate recipients at the 117th Commencement Ceremony.

The following tenured faculty members were awarded a professor emerit designation in 2024:

  • Judith Serin, Writing & Literature
  • Jeanne Finley, Film
  • Brook Hinton, Film
  • Deborah Valoma, Textiles
  • Gloria Frym, MFA Writing
  • Marilyn Da Silva, Jewelry & Metal Arts
  • Patricia Kilroe, Writing & Literature
  • Martin Venezky, MFA Design
  • Emily McVarish, Graphic Design

Undergraduate Ceremony

Celebrating 275 bachelor's candidates

Graphic with “Bachelors Degree Candidates' Ceremony 2024” in red letters, against a cream-colored background.

The Bachelor’s Degree Candidates' Ceremony features the conferring of CCA’s Honorary Doctorate of Fine Arts on Deborah Willis and visual artist and CCA alum Hank Willis Thomas (MFA Photography and MA Visual Criticism 2003). This dynamic mother-and-son duo are both talented artists and creatives in their own right. An extraordinary photographer and scholar, Deborah Willis is a University Professor and Chair of Department of Photography & Imaging at the Tisch School of the Arts and Director of the Center for Black Visual Culture at New York University. Hank Willis Thomas is a profound conceptual artist, working primarily with themes related to perspective, identity, commodity, media, and popular culture. His work has been exhibited locally here in the San Francisco Bay Area and all over the globe.

Undergraduate student speaker Daniela Cruz (BFA Individualized Studies and BA Writing & Literature 2024) captures the spirit of our community at CCA. She eloquently declares, “We are Chimeras. Our diversity is our face, resilience is our flag, and art is our universal language, the language that we can all understand and speak. Although I am proud of my past and the place of my roots, I am also proud of my present and the tree I have grown at CCA.”

President David C. Howse honors extraordinary accomplishments

In his commencement speech, CCA President Howse congratulates the 2024 graduating class and celebrates this significant milestone.

“Today is not only a culmination of years of hard work and dedication; it is also a moment of reflection and anticipation. As graduates of CCA, you have an important role and responsibility as artists and makers in the world.”

Graduate Ceremony

Celebrating 173 master's candidates

Graphic with “Masters Degree Candidates' Ceremony 2024” in green letters, against a cream-colored background.

Annie Gullingsrud (BFA Fashion Design 2012) will deliver the Distinguished Alumni Address at the 2024 Master’s Degree Candidates' Ceremony. Annie is committed to revolutionizing the fashion industry towards environmental stewardship and global change. She has been instrumental in her roles as COO and CSO at women-led startups, where she has focused on leveraging technology to accelerate sustainable transformation in fashion. She has collaborated with industry leaders such as H&M, Target, Walmart, Stella McCartney, Cradle to Cradle, and Net-A-Porter. She authored the book Fashion Fibers: Designing for Sustainability, which features illustrations by Amy Williams and a foreword by CCA professor and former chair of Fashion Design Lynda Grose. This collaboration underscores the book’s roots in academic and practical expertise, highlighting the interconnectedness of sustainability, design, and education. Annie is currently the Chief Strategy Officer at Trashie, a pioneering rewards and recycling platform.

Graduate student speaker Julia Srey Ratchana Um (MBA Design Strategy 2024) encapsulates the essence of our artistic mission with profound insight. She declares, “As artists, our charge is to imagine all of the possible futures, to identify the preferred futures, and to use our craft to make them tangible for those who cannot or will not imagine. Our ability to ideate is a wellspring of expansive possibilities; our respective crafts are tools we can use to put into words and images those futures that do not yet exist.”

President David C. Howse expresses collegewide pride

In his commencement speech, CCA President Howse applauds the graduate students’ persistence and focus to realize their goals.

“We at CCA are immensely proud of you. We believe in you. Always remember to believe in yourself, even when the road ahead seems daunting. Trust in the process, connect with others authentically, and unleash your inner creativity. The world eagerly awaits your unique contributions, so go forth boldly and let your light shine bright.”

2024 Showcase

Explore student work from across the college

The 2024 Showcase presents an expansive range of culminating projects and capstone moments by students from the college’s four divisions: Architecture, Design, Fine Arts, and Humanities & Sciences.

A cream-colored graphic with teal, green, yellow, and red shapes in the background. Text in black reads: Deans' Spotlight.

To denote outstanding student contributions to the 2024 Showcase, the deans of CCA’s four academic divisions selected students whose submissions deserve special recognition. Every student work chosen for a Deans’ Spotlight demonstrates excellence in theory and practice.

Events

Join our end-of-year celebratory events and exhibitions, where you can see students’ intellectual curiosity and inspiration on view, as well as a snapshot of CCA’s dynamic learning-through-making educational model.

In Memoriam

Remembering community members who have passed

“Please take a moment to honor these members of our CCA community. They are part of our creative legacy—teachers, friends, and colleagues who changed our lives, and whom we cherish.”

— David C. Howse

CCA President

2023-2024

  • Bella Feldman
    (professor emerit)
  • Stephen Goldstine
    (faculty)
  • Adam Krug
    (Animation student)
  • Tom Ingalls
    (faculty)
  • Ray Patlán
    (MFA Interior Design 1980)
  • Peter Simensky
    (faculty)
  • Maggie Simpson Adams
    (BFA Film/Video 2003, MFA Media Arts 2010)
  • Michael Stevens
    (adjunct faculty)

Social Media Spotlights

@cacollegeofarts
Instagram post 18059477224572073

May 17, 2024

“As imagemakers we have sought to create an active role in creating exchanges of perspectives about art and culture; and how art engages with questions we face as a society today. Our experience as artists and academics have reaffirmed our belief that the arts have a crucial role to play in imagining new futures, especially in turbulent times such as these.” — Deborah Willis

We’re proud to award an honorary doctorate degree to inspirational artists, designers, and thinkers each year at our Commencement Ceremony. We were thrilled to have artist and scholar Deborah Willis and visual artist and CCA alum Hank Willis Thomas (MFA Photography and MA Visual Criticism 2003) as the degree recipients at our 117th Commencement Ceremony last weekend.

An advocate for all voices, Deborah Willis has been instrumental in furthering diversity and inclusion in the art world. Her work continues to inspire generations of artists, scholars, and educators, cementing her legacy as a leading figure in art history and visual studies.

Hank Willis Thomas’s work engages with historical and contemporary issues of social justice, drawing attention to systemic inequities and advocating for change. Like his mother, he is also recognized for his activism in nurturing diversity and inclusion in the art industry. Thomas’s contributions have left an indelible mark on the art world, provoking important conversations and reflections.

Congratulations, @debwillisphoto and #HankWillisThomas!

Instagram post 17903989484970713

May 10, 2024

Walk it like we talk it 🗣 At the end of every spring semester, @ccafashiondesign program debuts the collections of graduating seniors with a runway presentation.

☆ Special thanks to President David Howse (@dhowse75) for opening the show. ☆

Instagram post 18099994411404886

May 9, 2024

🌞There’s only a month left to submit your Pre-College application🌞 At Pre-College, high school students get to spend a month seeing what’s its like to be a CCA student. Pre-College students get to live on campus, take studio courses, go on adventures around the city on the weekends — all while earning 3️⃣ college credits.

Sign up: cca.edu/precollege

Instagram post 17951877182667445

May 1, 2024

Artists Michael Jang and Xandra Ibarra went to see the new Curatorial Practice thesis exhibition — have you?

Now at @wattisarts: 𝓐𝓫𝓼𝓸𝓵𝓾𝓽𝓮 𝓜𝓮𝓶𝓸𝓻𝔂: 𝓐𝓷 𝓐𝓻𝓬𝓱𝓲𝓿𝓮 𝓸𝓯 𝓢𝓸𝓯𝓽𝓷𝓮𝓼𝓼 features artists Widline Cadet, Xandra Ibarra, Michael Jang, Clifford Prince King, and Kenneth Tam.
Curated by the @cca_curatorial_practice Class of 2024: Samantha Hiura, Megan Kelly, and Sherry Xiang.

If you have questions about commencement, send us an email.