David Kelley is honored at the 2017 CCA Gala.

David Kelley Honored at CCA Gala

CCA celebrates the renowned American design visionary at its annual fundraising event to benefit CCA student scholarships.

San Francisco, Calif., April 10, 2017 — California College of the Arts (CCA) celebrates renowned American design visionary David Kelley as honoree of its annual gala on Wednesday, May 23, 2017. The evening fundraising event—a benefit to support CCA student scholarships—brings together leaders from across Bay Area sectors of design, art, business, and technology to fete Kelley and his groundbreaking contributions to the culture of innovation. The event is sold out.

Founder of Stanford University’s lauded d.school and the global design consultancy IDEO—the company behind countless iconic products of the digital age (including Apple’s first mouse design)—Kelley is champion of a human-centered design methodology that focuses on unlocking creative confidence in people and organizations. Through his writing and teaching he has shifted the way an entire industry views itself, as not just designers but design thinkers.

“David Kelley has evolved the definition of design more than anyone in our time,” notes CCA President Stephen Beal. “As creative practitioners who strive to reimagine the methods, modes, and meanings of design in contemporary culture, we’re thrilled to celebrate Kelley’s trailblazing achievements.”

The elegant gathering—held at CCA’s San Francisco campus and featuring décor by Stanlee Gatti Design—is co-chaired by CCA trustees Patricia Fitzpatrick, Lorna Meyer Calas, and Kay Kimpton Walker, with honorary chair (and trustee) Stanlee Gatti. The evening will include a cocktail hour with libations by Anchor Distilling Company, Peregrine Ranch Winery, Vintap Wine Company, and RMH–River Myst Haven; a delectable seated dinner by McCalls; a conversation between David Kelley and Chris Flink, executive director of the Exploratorium, former partner at IDEO, and founding member of Stanford’s d.school; and other surprises. Maria Giudice—vice president of experience design at Autodesk, founder of Hot Studio, and CCA trustee—will serve as the evening’s emcee.

New to the event this year will be an exhibition organized for the occasion that features artworks by a range of CCA alumni, including Johanna Friedman (MFA Textiles 2012), Mike Gaspay (MFA Painting & Drawing 2011), Zach Gibson (MFA Design 2011), Sarah Hotchkiss (MFA Painting & Drawing 2011), Bruna Massadas (MFA Painting & Drawing 2012), and Elizabeth Russell (MFA Fine Arts 2016), among others.

“CCA’s design programs are committed to ethical, research-based, and culturally engaged practice, which is exemplary among art colleges,” says Kelley. “By teaching students to use the whole brain in design, CCA is more than doing its part to prepare tomorrow’s creative leaders for industries that don’t exist yet.”

For more information, the public can visit cca.edu/gala or call 510.594.3776.

About David Kelley

Kelley (b. 1951, Barberton, Ohio) is founder and chairman of the global design and innovation company IDEO. Kelley also founded Stanford University’s Hasso Plattner Institute of Design, known as the d.school, where students from the business, engineering, medicine, law, and other disciplines develop the capacity to solve complex problems collaboratively. In his role as Stanford’s Donald W. Whittier Professor in Mechanical Engineering, Kelley is academic director of the degree-granting undergraduate and graduate programs in design within the School of Engineering, and he has taught classes in the program for 35 years.

After earning a bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering from Carnegie Mellon University, Kelley worked as an engineer at both Boeing and NCR. Drawn to design, he entered Stanford University in 1975, where he earned his master’s degree in engineering and product design. In 1978 he founded the design firm that would become IDEO and, in that same year, began his teaching career at Stanford, receiving tenure in 1990. He also founded an early-stage venture-capital firm in 1984 called Onset and was instrumental in starting a special effects firm called Edge Innovations, which creates unique animatronics for the film industry.

Kelley was inducted into the National Academy of Engineering in 2000. He holds honorary PhDs from the Thayer School of Engineering at Dartmouth College and ArtCenter College of Design in Pasadena. He has been recognized with numerous honors, including the Chrysler Design Award and the National Design Award in Product Design from the Smithsonian’s Cooper-Hewitt National Design Museum, the Robert Fletcher Award from Dartmouth College, and the Edison Achievement Award for Innovation. Preparing the design thinkers of tomorrow also earned him the Sir Misha Black Medal for his “distinguished contribution to design education.”

About CCA’s Scholarship Program

CCA devotes 27 percent of its annual budget to student scholarships; two out of three students receive scholarship support of some kind. The college firmly believes that an excellent art and design education is made possible with the inclusion of diverse persons and perspectives on campus and that financial barriers should not prevent any talented, committed student from enrolling at CCA. To achieve this goal, CCA dedicates significant institutional resources to need-based aid, with the highest fundraising priority being the scholarship fund.

About California College of the Arts

Founded in 1907, California College of the Arts (CCA) educates the creative leaders of tomorrow to make powerful contributions to society. CCA’s distinctive project-based educational model emphasizes interdisciplinary experimentation, risk-taking, and innovation.

CCA offers a rich curriculum of 22 undergraduate and 12 graduate programs in art, design, architecture, and writing taught by a faculty of expert practitioners and attracts promising students from across the United States and from 54 countries around the world. Graduates are highly sought after by companies such as Pixar/Disney, Apple, Intel, Facebook, Gensler, Google, IDEO, Autodesk, Mattel, and Nike, and many have launched their own successful businesses. For more information, visit cca.edu.

Image: Honoree David Kelley; photo courtesy IDEO


What: CCA 2017 Gala Benefit Honoring David Kelley

When: Wednesday, May 23, 2017

  • 6:30 p.m. Cocktails
  • 7:30 p.m. Dinner
  • 8:30 p.m. Program

Where: California College of the Arts, 1111 Eighth Street, San Francisco

Attire: Be cool!

Event information: cca.edu/gala or 510.594.3776

See the full CCA Gala Honorary Committee; special thanks to the CCA Gala Sponsors.