March 09, 2022
ArtCenter College of Design's Board of Trustees announced today that, after an extensive international search and a unanimous vote, the College has named educator and industrial designer Karen Hofmann as its next president and chief executive officer. Hofmann, an ArtCenter alumna, is the sixth president and first woman to hold the position in the 90+ year history of the College.
Following a career in product design, automotive design, and consumer and design research, Hofmann returned to the College in 2002 to assume increasing responsibilities in education, first as an instructor, then chair of the Product Design department beginning in 2010. Hofmann was named provost of ArtCenter in 2018 and, for the last four years, has helped lead the College through significant cultural and operational changes.
In making the announcement, Su Hale, chair of the Board of Trustees, said, "Throughout the search process, the Board was impressed with Karen's vision for balancing ArtCenter’s legacy with a commitment to redefining art and design education for our students and faculty, and the professional industries that employ our graduates.
“It was critical to the Board that our next president understand the importance of diversity, equity and inclusion to lead ArtCenter’s students and faculty, as well as remain relevant in a global world,” Hale continued. “Given Karen’s experience as our current provost, and also as a member of the LGBTQIA+ community, she displays a deep understanding of ArtCenter’s commitment to make advancements in access, affordability and inclusion as outlined in the College’s strategic agenda.”
"Organizations and communities need the talents of design professionals to address the challenges of the future," Linda Hill, co-chair of the presidential search committee, added. "And, while the search committee considered Karen's experience as an alum, former faculty member and department chair, it was her commitment to accessible and inclusive higher education, and her passion for developing the next generation of global talent, that secured the committee's confidence in selecting her as the next president."
"These are unprecedented times not only for ArtCenter students, faculty, staff, and leadership but also for artists and designers," Hofmann said. "Yet there are silver linings and incredible opportunities to reassess, rethink and rebuild meaningful academic experiences to empower the future generation of creatives who will shape our world.
“ArtCenter is the ideal institution to do that work, and I am profoundly honored to serve in this role and help the College do just that,” she concluded.
Hofmann's role as president is effective July 1, 2022. She will work closely with current ArtCenter president Dr. Lorne M. Buchman (who announced his retirement in March 2021) on a transition plan, including an interim strategy to fulfill the provost's responsibilities and initiate a comprehensive search for a new provost over the next few months.
Buchman, who steps into the role of president emeritus upon his retirement, said, “I am thrilled to know that ArtCenter is in such capable hands. It has been an honor to work with Karen these last several years, and I’m confident she has the vision and essential skills to lead this venerable institution. She will do a great job.”
The presidential search committee, comprised of seven Trustees and representatives from ArtCenter's constituent-based shared governance groups, engaged executive search firm Isaacson, Miller to conduct an international search for the College's next president. More than 100 candidates were considered across a broad spectrum from academia to industry, public institutions to the private sector, with significant representation from women and underrepresented minorities.
Michael M. Warsaw, co-chair of the presidential search committee and chair-elect of the Board of Trustees, said, "We are incredibly grateful to our committee members, including representatives of ArtCenter Student Government, Faculty Council, Staff Council, and Chairs Council, who offered valuable insight and thoughtful feedback throughout the search process.
"As incoming Board chair and the parent of a current ArtCenter student," Warsaw continued, "I am looking forward to working with Karen and using our shared alumni experience as a platform on which to catapult ArtCenter into the future."
For more information about Hofmann, please visit the ArtCenter website.
About ArtCenter College of Design
Founded in 1930 and located in Pasadena, California, ArtCenter College of Design is a global leader in art and design education. ArtCenter offers 11 undergraduate and 10 graduate degrees in a wide variety of art and design disciplines. In addition to its top-ranked academic programs, the College also serves the general public through a highly regarded series of online and on-campus year-round extension programs for all levels of experience. Renowned for both its ties to industry and its social impact initiatives, ArtCenter is the first design school to receive the United Nations' Non-Governmental Organization (NGO) status. Throughout the College's long and storied history, ArtCenter alumni have had a profound impact on popular culture, the way we live and important issues in our society.
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