Tink Adams was a terrific guy, and he knew exactly what the profession needed in preparing young people to run the world—it needed a school that could address that. We wanted to be leaders in the field, so it wasn’t a matter of training, but a matter of truly understanding. A school like ours was unusual back in those days.Don KublyArtCenter President
Reflecting the College’s forward-looking momentum, new undergraduate departments have been added over the decades: Fine Art in 1967, Film in 1973, Graphic Design in 1984, Product Design in 1991, Environmental Design—now Spatial Experience Design—in 1992, Entertainment Design in 2008, and Interaction Design in 2012. In 2017, the College launched a minor in Social Innovation; in 2020, it launched minors in Business, Creative Writing, Research, and Material Science. In 2022, the College’s First Year Immersion began offering an alternative pathway for students still deciding how to focus their creative energies.
The College has also expanded its offerings into post-baccalaureate studies. Graduate degree programs were launched in Film in 1975; Art in 1986; Media Design Program—now Media Design Practices—in 2000; Industrial Design in 2004; both Environmental Design—now Spatial Experience Design—and Transportation Systems and Design in 2012; Graphic Design in 2016; and Furniture, Lighting and Fixtures Design in 2021. In 2022, the College offered its first completely online degrees by launching two Master of Design programs—Brand Design and Strategy, and Interaction Design.
We moved to the Hillside Campus in Pasadena in 1976, into an iconic building designed by the modernist architectural firm Craig Ellwood Associates. In the 1980s, we were the first design school to install computer labs, spearheading the revolution in digital design. In 2003, thanks to our groundbreaking Designmatters social impact initiative, we became the first design school to receive Non-Governmental Organization (NGO) status by the United Nations Department of Public Information.
In 2004, ArtCenter established its South Campus in downtown Pasadena to accommodate the College’s overall growth. Since then, the campus, located at the terminus of the historic Arroyo Seco Parkway, has grown to encompass three sustainably renovated facilities—a former post office sorting facility, supersonic wind tunnel, and office building—all of which have been designed to integrate the College into the surrounding community and greater Los Angeles.
While remaining focused on its core educational mission of developing creative leaders and innovators in art and design, in recent years the College has also made progress toward addressing historical inequities at the institution. In 2018, ArtCenter appointed its first ever chief diversity officer, a role which lead to the establishment of a new Center for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion in Art and Design at the College. In 2022, ArtCenter named Karen Hofmann, its then provost and a former chair of the Product Design program, as president and chief executive officer. An alumna of the College, Hofmann is ArtCenter’s sixth president and first woman to hold that position. Following major tenants of its strategic plan, the College continues to explore means of diversifying the voices of its community and expanding its reach to historically underserved populations.
Our story is one that continues to unfold—and to be told.