President's Letter | Fall 2008

Dear Friends,

I am delighted to have been named the ninth president of California College of the Arts. In the past 11 years in which I’ve served as provost, I have been privileged to work with CCA’s vibrant community of artists, architects, designers, writers, and scholars. In that time the college has achieved an unprecedented level of renown and become an important part of the cultural landscape both nationally and internationally. Moving forward, we will continue to build on our excellent reputation while assuring the best possible educational experience for our students.

With the fall semester having just started, I wanted to share with you some of our recent activities.


A record number of first-year students are attending CCA this fall—240—up from 187 last year. We also are drawing ever-greater numbers of highly qualified out-of-state and international students. A newly renovated residence hall on the Oakland campus will help accommodate them.


This fall I will be working with alumni, faculty, students, parents, trustees, and staff on the first phase of developing the 2009–14 strategic plan. You will be hearing from us in the coming months about opportunities to get involved.


I’m delighted to announce that CCA’s Centennial Campaign has been successfully completed, with just over $27.5 million raised. Thanks to the tremendous generosity of 1,000 campaign donors, we exceeded our original $25 million goal. This was the most ambitious fundraising effort in CCA’s history and provides vital revenue for student scholarships, facility improvements, and academic programs. A detailed report will appear in the next issue of Glance, the college magazine.


We’ve engaged a search firm to help locate our next provost. As chief academic officer, the provost will be integral to developing our strategic plan and will participate in our upcoming WASC and NASAD accreditation processes. Associate Dean Melanie Corn is serving as interim provost. For more information see CCA's job listings on the college website.


A faculty committee worked hard this summer to take a fresh look at our academic leadership structure, and four faculty members have been appointed to the new position of divisional director: Ila Berman is the new director of architecture, Leslie Becker is director of design, Deborah Valoma is director of fine arts, and Rachel Schreiber is director of humanities and sciences. I’m very pleased to see these expanded leadership opportunities for our faculty.


During the 2007–8 academic year, CCA engaged in several national searches for tenure-track faculty. In Fashion Design, tenure-track faculty now includes Lynda Grose; in Graphic Design, Emily McVarish and Jon Sueda; in Sculpture, Allison Smith; and in Visual Studies, Jordana Saggese and Elizabeth Mangini.


The MBA in Design Strategy, chaired by Nathan Shedroff, welcomes its first class of 30 students this fall. For more information on this innovative program, see


A number of renowned artists are visiting faculty members this year, continuing a long and exciting tradition. Visiting Animation are Patrick Danaher, who contributed to the films Cloverfield, Enchanted, and The Spiderwick Chronicles, and Doug Sheppeck, who worked on The Lord of the Rings, WALL-E, Ratatouille, and The Incredibles. Other visiting faculty include Darell Fields (Architecture), Walter Kitundu (Wornick Distinguished Visiting Professor of Wood Arts), Katya Bonnenfant (Media Arts), and Eve Fowler and Walead Beshty (Photography).


A brand-new facility for digital film is under construction on the San Francisco campus. Scheduled to open in spring 2009, it will include a media lab, three film/video editing suites, an audio suite for recording and mixing, and a 2,000-square-foot shooting stage with a green screen.


The Master of Architecture Program, which launched in 2004, has just received accreditation from the National Architectural Accrediting Board (NAAB). The undergraduate program has been accredited at the highest level since 1992. Our architecture students are participating this year for the first time ever (in collaboration with Santa Clara University) in the high-profile Solar Decathlon, where 20 competing teams each receive $100,000 to design and build a solar-powered house. The projects will be displayed to the public on the National Mall in Washington DC in October 2009.


Architecture and Design students will investigate “green luxury” and interact with top industry professionals this fall in a studio sponsored by the French worldwide group PPR (whose brands include Gucci, Puma, and Redcats). PPR will be sponsoring additional studios throughout the academic year. CCA is also one of four international design schools selected to participate in a sustainability workshop sponsored by a prominent Swiss firm. The results will be published and exhibited in at least four cities in Europe and the United States.


Join us this fall for exciting programs at the Wattis Institute for Contemporary Arts. In The Wizard of Oz (September 2–December 13) 22 international artists present artworks based on L. Frank Baum’s classic novel. The Exhibition Formerly Known as Passengers, featuring emerging international artists, is ongoing for the 2008–9 year with an artist talk and reception on the first Tuesday of every month at 7 p.m. View the full schedule at


An entire newsletter could be filled with the recent accomplishments of our students.
A few highlights:

  • Three CCA Graphic Design students won awards at the 2008 Cannes Film Festival: Heidi Berg, Elizabeth Chiu, and Netsui Gosney.
  • CCA was one of four design schools selected to exhibit student work at the International Contemporary Furniture Fair (ICFF) in New York in 2008. The
    projects were featured in the New York Times, the San Francisco Chronicle, and I.D. magazine.
  • 2008 Fashion Design graduate Jihye Kang has received a Surface magazine award, and a photo spread of her work will appear in the October 2008 issue. Zara Franks, another 2008 Fashion Design grad, has secured an internship with Marciano (a division of Guess) in Los Angeles.
  • Industrial Design student Gabe Lam has won the prestigious Industrial Designers Society of America (IDSA)—Western District student merit award for his Miranda device, a recording unit that protects both protesters and police.
  • Greg Schultz, also of Industrial Design, won a bronze award in the 2008 BusinessWeek International Design Excellence Awards (IDEA) in the student design category for his Peapod Home Ultrasound System, an at-home sonogram device.
  • Interior Design student Joanna Paull won a $7,500 scholarship from the International Interior Design Association (IIDA) Northern California chapter.
  • Recent MFA grad Dina Danish has received one of the world’s most competitive artist residencies, at the Rijksacademie in the Netherlands. She was one of just 20 winners selected from more than 1,100 international applicants.

As you can see, there is much happening at CCA! At the core of this is our commitment to creating and supporting an exceptional learning experience for our students. In the coming months, I look forward to working with our creative and dedicated faculty, staff, and trustees to fulfill the promise of this great institution.

Thank you for your continued interest and support. I will send another letter in the spring.


Stephen Beal, President