PROVIDENCE, RI.- On Saturday, May 30, at 10am, graduating students from Rhode Island School of Design will receive their hard-earned diplomas during RISD’s lively Commencement celebration. The 473 undergraduates and 187 graduate students will gather at the First Baptist Church at 75 North Main Street, where the processional will work its way down the Providence riverwalk.
The annual RISD Commencement ceremony is held outdoors on South Water Street at Power Street, at the southern end of RISD’s east side campus. RISD Commencement is a true representation of the students’ time spent at RISD, where their spirits of individuality and creative minds come to life via both playful and innovative ensembles created specially for the occasion and the thoughtful adornment of otherwise traditional caps and gowns.
As part of the outdoor ceremony, RISD also confers honorary Doctor of Fine Arts degrees on exceptional individuals who have made groundbreaking contributions to the world of art and design. This year five people who lead in their fields will join in the festivities and accept honorary degrees: entrepreneur Caterina Fake, best known as the co-founder of Flickr; Apple designer Jonathan Ive, leader of the team behind the iconic iMac, iPod and iPhone; arts advocate and educator Roger Mandle, president of RISD from 1993-2008; writer and creativity expert Sir Ken Robinson, a cultural visionary who will also deliver the keynote address; and accomplished artist Betty Woodman, widely considered one of the most important ceramic artists working today. At the ceremony, the Alumni Association will also present its Art & Education Award to Liz Collins ’91 TX/MFA ’99, a RISD assistant professor of textiles.
Graduating students will mount a series of exhibitions leading up to Commencement, including the Senior Invitational Exhibition at Woods-Gerry Gallery, the RISD Graduate Student Exhibition at the Rhode Island Convention Center, a graduate student show at Sol Koffler Graduate Student Gallery and the Senior Film/Animation/Video Festival at the RISD Auditorium. Details about each can be found at: http://www.risd.edu/exhibitions.cfm
Brief histories on each of this year’s honorary degree recipients can be found below. For more detailed bios or other information on RISD’s 2009 Commencement, visit www.risd.edu/risd_ commencement.cfm.
Caterina Fake Caterina Fake has been involved in web development since 1994, when she became an art director at Salon.com and got involved in the development of online communities, social networking software and personal publishing. Born in Pittsburgh, PA, Fake graduated from Vassar College in 1991 with a BA in English. In 2001, she founded Ludicorp with her husband, and launched Flickr in 2004, which was later acquired by Yahoo!. For three years, she ran Yahoo’s Technology Development group and Brickhouse, a rapid product development environment. Fake was cited in BusinessWeek’s list of Best Leaders of 2005, Forbes’ 2005 eGang, Fast Company's Fast 50, and Red Herring’s 20 Entrepreneurs under 35. In 2006 she was named to the Time 100, Time’s list of the world’s 100 most influential people, and was also featured on the cover of Newsweek. Now, as chief product officer at Hunch, Fake has been working on the beta launch of Hunch.com, a new customizable decision-making site that “gets smarter the more you use it.”
Sir Ken Robinson One of the world’s leading thinkers on creativity, Sir Ken Robinson was knighted by Queen Elizabeth II in 2003 for outstanding achievements as a writer and tireless advocate for creativity, education and the arts. His latest book “The Element: How Finding Your Passion Changes Everything” (Penguin-Viking, January 2009) became an instant New York Times bestseller and has been widely embraced by leaders in business, education, government and the arts. Known for his ready wit and deep humanity, Robinson speaks throughout the world on the creative challenges facing business and education in the ever-shifting global economy. After researching the role of drama and theater in education, Robinson earned a PhD from the University of London. From 1989–2001 he taught as a professor of Arts Education at the University of Warwick in the UK, but now lives in Los Angeles.
Jonathan Ive London born designer Jonathan Ive is the senior vice president of Industrial Design at Apple, reporting directly to the CEO. Since 1996 he has been responsible for leading a design team widely regarded as one of the world’s best. Recognized with numerous design awards, Apple products are featured in the permanent collections of museums worldwide including MOMA in New York and the Pompidou in Paris. Ive holds a Bachelor of Arts and an honorary doctorate from Newcastle Polytechnic. In 2003 he was named Designer of the Year by the Design Museum London and awarded the title Royal Designer for Industry by The Royal Society of Arts.
Betty Woodman A studio artist whose work has evolved over half a century, Betty Woodman is one of the most important ceramic sculptors working today. She is known for her painterly use of color, inventive way with form and expert blend of diverse influences, which come together in exuberant and captivating three-dimensional pieces that defy categorization. Woodman studied at the School for American Craftsmen at Alfred University and initially made decorative pots and functional ceramics. Today Woodman creates multiple forms – from fragmented wall vases, to bronze benches, to jugs, pots or urns that clamber up walls or enclose inviting new spaces. Woodman’s work has been shown all over the world and is included in the Cooper-Hewitt National Design Museum, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Museum of Arts & Design and the Whitney Museum of American Art in New York, the Musee des Arts Decoratifs in Paris, the Stedelijk Museum in Amsterdam and The Victoria and Albert Museum in London, among dozens of others.
Roger Mandle An art historian, former museum director and national arts advocate, Roger Mandle served as president of Rhode Island School of Design from 1993–2008, leading RISD through a $105-million capital campaign and spearheading such major campus additions as the Chace Center, the Fleet Library at RISD and a living/learning center that almost doubled the capacity of campus housing for students. Mandle’s widespread involvement in local business, civic and educational organizations heightened RISD’s stature as an advocate for the arts and for economic development in the region. A specialist in aesthetics and Dutch art, Mandle earned a BA from Williams College and an MA and Certificate in Museum Training from New York University. He went on to earn a PhD at Case Western Reserve University and is now Executive Director of the Qatar Museums Authority, where he is leading the initiative to establish a complex of new cultural institutions in Doha.