CCA honors legendary designer Sir Jony Ive during the 2021 virtual gala celebration on May 14

CCA will also recognize Sir Jony’s extraordinary contributions to design with an honorary doctorate during the college’s virtual commencement celebration on May 10.

Portrait of Sir Jony Ive.

Sir Jony Ive

San Francisco, CA—Tuesday, April 13, 2021—California College of the Arts is pleased to announce Sir Jony Ive KBE as the honoree at its annual gala this year, which takes place virtually on Friday, May 14, at 5 pm PT.

Sir Jony will also receive an honorary doctorate degree from California College of the Arts during the college’s annual commencement ceremony on Monday, May 10, in recognition of his devotion to design as a craft, which ties to CCA’s 114-year legacy of forward-thinking making in the arts and crafts. Sir Jony will deliver the commencement address, which will be shared with CCA’s international student body and their families through an interactive viewing on Monday, May 10.

As chief design officer of Apple for 27 years, Sir Jony is responsible for the design of some of the world’s most profoundly influential, intuitive, simple, and beautiful products—including the iMac, PowerBook, iPod, iPhone, iPad, Apple Watch, and AirPods, as well as major architectural projects such as Apple Park and the iconic Apple stores. His devotion to design principles continually influences new ways of practicing and studying design, art, and technology, and inspires the next generation of creative visionaries.

"Sir Jony Ive has made an indelible mark on the design community in ways that will forever influence how the world lives and works," says CCA President Stephen Beal. "We're looking forward to celebrating him at our gala and recognizing his contributions to design with an honorary doctorate this spring. He's an incredible example for our CCA graduating class of the impact art and design can have on our community and the world."

CCA’s annual spring gala benefits scholarships for talented CCA students who are striving to change the world through the power of creative work.

Details of the 2021 CCA Gala

This year’s gala is co-chaired by Lorna Meyer Calas, Stanlee Gatti, and Kimberlee Swig. The live online broadcast will feature a special Q+A with Sir Jony Ive, as well as remarks from CCA President Stephen Beal, the gala co-chairs, and CCA students. The broadcast will be hosted by Renel Brooks-Moon, announcer for the San Francisco Giants, with CBS 5’s Liam Mayclem serving as auctioneer.

Gala sponsors will receive a special gala gift delivered to their homes provided by CCA and Paula LeDuc Fine Catering, and an exclusive preview of the gala auction.

The CCA gala is accompanied by a silent auction featuring a carefully selected collection of artwork from 15 artists—many of them either CCA alumni or past and present faculty—including Viola Frey, David Maisel, Manuel Neri, Terry St. John, Wayne Thiebaud, and Lava Thomas. The auction also includes premium private experiences, including a catered dinner by San Francisco-based chef Michael Tusk; a stay at a historic Sea Ranch home designed by Charles Moore and William Turnbull, Jr.; and more. Bidding opens to the general public on Friday, May 7, at 9 am PDT and closes on Saturday, May 15, at 6 pm PDT. Visit for the auction preview.

CCA’s 2021 commencement ceremony

CCA will award Sir Jony Ive with an honorary doctorate degree during the college’s online commencement ceremony on Monday, May 10, in recognition of his significant contributions to the design field and his devotion to design as a craft. The ceremony will be shared with graduating CCA students and their families through an interactive viewing on Monday, May 10. In addition to a commencement address delivered by Sir Jony from CCA's campus, CCA President Stephen Beal will address the graduating students, with additional speakers and performances from the CCA community.

More than 500 students are expected to receive undergraduate and graduate degrees from CCA this May.

About Sir Jony Ive

Sir Jony Ive KBE is a designer based in San Francisco.

In 2019 he gathered the creative collective LoveFrom, which includes Apple and Airbnb amongst its first collaborators.

In his previous role as chief design officer of Apple, Sir Jony was responsible for all hardware, user interface, and packaging design, as well as the major architectural projects Apple Park and Apple’s retail stores. He joined Apple in 1992, where co-founder Steve Jobs subsequently referred to him as his creative partner.

The designer of the iMac, PowerBook, MacBook, iBook, iPod, iPhone, iPad, Apple Watch, AirPods, and HomePod, the team Sir Jony led for more than two decades created products that are widely regarded as being intuitive, simple, beautiful, and profoundly influential. He holds more than 12,000 patents that, uniquely, relate to both user interface and product design.

Born in London, Sir Jony studied industrial design at college. He was appointed a Royal Designer for Industry (RDI) in 2003, an honorary fellow of the Royal Academy of Engineering (HonFREng) in 2006, and awarded the Professor Stephen Hawking Fellowship by the Cambridge Union Society in 2018. He holds honorary doctorates from Oxford and Cambridge Universities, Rhode Island School of Design, and the Royal College of Art, where he currently serves as chancellor.

Sir Jony is frequently voted one of Britain’s most culturally influential figures.

Media contact

Portrait of David Owens-Hill.

David Owens-Hill

Director of Communications

[email protected]