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Art Center President Signs New Five-Year Contract

Board Praises Lorne M. Buchman’s Leadership During Time of Unprecedented Growth, Record Enrollment and Extraordinary Fundraising

Published on Sunday, May 19, 2013 | 9:12 pm
Lorne M. Buchman. Photo by ArtCenter.Edu

The board of trustees of Art Center College of Design announced today that visionary leader Lorne M. Buchman has renewed his contract as president and chief executive officer through 2017.

Board Chairman Robert C. Davidson Jr. praised Buchman for bringing about growth and change, citing the many significant achievements at the College since his appointment in fall 2009.

“Dr. Buchman has demonstrated extraordinary passion and commitment to Art Center, to building our community and strengthening our values,” said Davidson. “His proven track record of recruiting a diverse group of trustees, achieving consensus with key initiatives and expanding the campus both physically and programmatically, shows without a doubt he is accomplishing the goals of Art Center. His visionary leadership going forward is integral to our continued growth.”

Buchman is the fifth president to lead the College since it was founded in 1930.

Since Buchman took office on Oct. 1, 2009, the College has experienced record enrollment in both undergraduate and graduate programs. During the same period, Art Center has received more than $40 million in new charitable gifts and pledges.

“I work very closely with an exceptional executive cabinet and an extraordinary team of colleagues at all levels who are dedicated to Art Center’s future, and I am deeply gratified by the work we’ve accomplished together,” Buchman said. “It is a tremendous honor and privilege to witness and support the work of brilliant artists and designers who take on problems that can and do lead to real change.”

During Buchman’s tenure, philanthropic investments in the College have grown significantly. In this past year, the College more than doubled the average gift totals of preceding years. Buchman first turned his attention to increasing support for students, launching a scholarship initiative in January 2010 that secured more than $3 million in endowed and current use funds and marked the College’s 80th anniversary. Charitable gifts and grants totaling more than $6 million fully funded the 2012 acquisition of a former U.S. Postal Service property in Pasadena directly adjacent to Art Center’s current South Campus at 950 S. Raymond Ave.

The Ralph M. Parsons Foundation awarded $1 million to Art Center in support of the South Campus expansion. Foundation president and CEO Wendy Garen explained that her organization’s philanthropic focus is to help create the best possible Los Angeles.

“Art Center College of Design is both a part of the Los Angeles area and a part of the bigger world. It has impact and reach much larger than our community,” she said. “The Parsons Foundation began its grant making in 1978. Since then, we have given 5,000 grants, but only 33 of this size. These are very rare investments—our acknowledgment that the recipient institutions are really cornerstone institutions. They demonstrate excellence in all that they do.”

Art Center alumni also responded to expansion plans in an unprecedented manner, donating $5 million for the acquisition of the new property. Donations include seven-figure gifts from three major donors with longstanding ties to the College: Art Center alumnus and award-winning environmental designer Richard Law (Graduate Industrial Design ’58); alumnus and kinetic sculptor Steven Rieman (Product Design ‘74) and his wife, Ruth; alumnus Bruce Heavin (Illustration ’93) and his wife, former Art Center faculty member Lynda Weinman, owners of the innovative online learning company,

The College selected award-winning firm Michael Maltzan Architecture as its partner to reimagine Art Center as a campus with three centers of learning—an expanded South Campus, a renovated Hillside Campus (1700 Lida Street, Pasadena), and a virtual campus—each optimized for the particular needs of artists and designers while also fostering new collaborations among disciplines.

In 2012–2013, Art Center also launched several new academic programs, adding graduate programs in Environmental Design and Transportation Design, and an undergraduate program in Interaction Design.

These developments are a direct outgrowth of an ambitious five-year strategic plan called “Create Change,” spearheaded by Buchman. He successfully rallied the community in a visioning process that addressed the challenge of securing the College’s legacy while ensuring that its distinctive education remains cutting-edge and pertinent into the future.

The plan identifies three pillars intended to elevate Art Center to become the nation’s pre-eminent art and design college: embracing a conservatory spirit, convening diverse communities and disciplines, and developing new spaces for learning.

“The funds raised to help realize our strategic plan would not have been possible without the confidence our alumni and the entire Art Center community have expressed in Lorne’s leadership,” said Davidson. “He is tremendously talented at fostering unity and finding agreement among diverse constituencies.”

Davidson points to the significant diversification of Art Center’s leadership as an important shift that has occurred under Buchman’s direction. Since Buchman’s appointment, Art Center has added 13 distinguished leaders to its board of trustees.

“Our shared vision is underway,” said Buchman, “and yet this is just the beginning. The launch of this new chapter depends on our continued commitment to be a premiere college of art and design, not only in terms of the faculty and students we attract, but also in terms of our collective impact.

“As our nation’s policy makers and business executives seek ways to speed up our country’s economic recovery, they are increasingly looking for attributes that Art Center’s educational model cultivates: innovation, transdisciplinary collaboration, problem solving, social responsibility, adaptability and design thinking.

“These attributes position our graduates as key players on the global stage,” said Buchman. “Our alumni have both the ability and the opportunity to create new economic value.”

About Art Center

Founded in 1930 and located in Pasadena, Calif., Art Center College of Design is a global leader in art and design education. Art Center offers 11 undergraduate and six graduate degrees in a wide variety of art and design disciplines, as well as public programs for all ages and levels of experience. Renowned for its ties to industry, Art Center is the first design school to receive the United Nations’ Non-Governmental Organization (NGO) status, providing opportunities for students to create design-based solutions for humanitarian and nonprofit agencies around the world. During the College’s 80-year history, Art Center’s alumni have had a profound impact on popular culture, the way we live and important issues in our society.

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