Bob Gurr

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About Alumni Awards

The Alumni Awards provide an opportunity for ArtCenter to publicly recognize the talent, service and influence of our alumni.

2022 Alumni Awards

Bob Gurr, 2022 ArtCenter Alumni Award, Lifetime Achievement

Bob Gurr (BS 52 Transportation Design) has received the 2022 ArtCenter Alumni Award for Lifetime Achievement. The last original Disneyland  Imagineer was instrumental in creating 100 magical Disney theme park attractions, worldwide, shaping the theme park experience and bringing joy to people of all ages. 

His other imaginative  feats include the UFO that soared over the closing ceremonies of the 1984 Los Angeles Summer Olympics, the King Kong Adventure at Universal Studios  and Treasure Island's pirate show on the Vegas Strip.

"As I left ArtCenter for Detroit to do my dream job, draw cars, if somebody would've whispered in my ear and said, 'Bob, you're going to work for Walt Disney and help design Disneyland. You're going to design a 30-foot-tall animated gorilla and sink a ship in Las Vegas.' I would've said, 'You're nuts. I'm going to do cars,'" he says of his journey.

Bob Gurr

I'm professionally trained, but I have a loose edge; maybe that's why I find so many things interesting.

Bob Gurr

Born with a fascination for cars and mechanical devices, Gurr studied industrial design at ArtCenter and was hired by the Ford Motor Company upon graduation. However, Gurr's immense imagination and creativity soon attracted the attention of none other than Walt Disney, who recruited him to work on constructions that went on to define Disneyland.

"Every one of these most interesting things came out over left field," he says. "I'm professionally trained, but I have a loose edge; maybe that's why I find so many things interesting—that loosey-goosey kind of attitude."

Over nearly five decades, Bob worked his magic on other iconic vehicles from the Monorail to the Matterhorn, teaching himself engineering and trigonometry along the way. 

"Then Walt says, 'Bobby, why don't you design a tram? Then I designed a little tram teaching myself railroad cars of 1880," recalls Bob.

With all of Gurr’s crowd-pleasing accomplishments, being recently recognized as a car designer was among his biggest thrills. 

“It was such a joy to be 92 and find my little car, professionally designed the way I was taught at ArtCenter, and see it in the Peterson Museum,” he says. “It was just absolutely worth waiting for."