Karen Hofmann on building an accessible, affordable and inclusive education
To many of our listeners, this guest needs no introduction. She is someone who has burst through seemingly impenetrable ceilings – glass and otherwise – to claim leadership roles historically held by men. She rose through the ranks as a strategic industrial designer before returning to ArtCenter, her alma mater, for a transformative stint as Chair of our Product Design department. She was also a driving force behind ArtCenter’s innovative DesignStorm program, through which major brands engage our students in developing new products and ideas.
The force of nature I’m describing here is none other than ArtCenter Provost and President-elect, Karen Hofmann, who is the first woman to serve in either of those roles. On a personal and professional level, I couldn’t have asked for a better partner in leading this College through the uncertainties of Covid-19 and the enormous logistical, creative, social and emotional adjustments that went along with the transition to remote learning and back. Thanks in no small part to Karen’s dedication and unflagging optimism, we’ve emerged stronger and better equipped to face the future than we’ve ever been. And, come July, Karen will be poised to build on those achievements when she takes office, upon my retirement, as ArtCenter’s first female president.
Throughout her tenure as provost, Karen tackled a set of complex challenges with an eye toward ensuring ArtCenter’s health and longevity. Karen managed to keep calm and carry on, facing each new obstacle with a solution-minded determination that is the hallmark of every great designer. In fact, it was almost as if she was making the case, in real time, that there is no better person to lead ArtCenter through the uncertainties that lie ahead.
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