California College of the Arts

California College of the Arts

San Francisco, CA


California College of the Arts' Architecture Division Establishes M. Arthur Gensler Jr. Center for Design Excellence with Gifts from Gensler and Gensler Family

By Keith Krumwiede
Mar 11, '23 3:34 PM EST
CCA Architecture, Show and Tell Mixer. Photo: Nicholas Bruno
CCA Architecture, Show and Tell Mixer. Photo: Nicholas Bruno

California College of the Arts' Architecture Division has received a $1 million gift from the Gensler family and a $1 million gift from Gensler, the award-winning global architecture, design and planning firm, to establish the M. Arthur Gensler Jr. Center for Design Excellence. The gifts will extend over ten years with the mission to inspire and support design excellence in architectural education, research and practice while promoting diversity, social justice and environmental sustainability.

The multi-faceted M. Arthur Gensler Jr. Center for Design Excellence will support and enrich learning, teaching, and research in CCA’s Architecture Division. With a focus on making design education and practice more diverse, equitable, and inclusive, the Center will support the academic and professional success of students from diverse backgrounds through tuition scholarships, mentoring, and career development support. The first cohort of Gensler Center scholarship recipients received awards this year.

Curriculum development grants and research fellowships will further CCA’s commitment to connecting students directly to innovative faculty research on the most pressing issues of the day–both social and environmental. The Center also will fund public programs that expose both the students and the wider design community to leading architects, designers, and thinkers. The Center will be led by CCA Dean of Architecture Keith Krumwiede.

“Gensler has a long history of supporting and encouraging a more diverse and innovative community in architecture and design, which originated with our late founder Art Gensler,” said Robin Klehr Avia, chair of the Gensler charitable giving fund and a member of Gensler’s board of directors. “Both CCA and Gensler believe the future of design depends on cultivating a multiplicity of ideas and influence. We are proud to honor Art’s legacy by providing faculty support, scholarships, and mentorships within the community and other educational and professional opportunities for a diverse array of CCA students to help them become the design leaders of the future.”

“Art was passionate about the profession of design and had a lifelong commitment to diversity. His personal involvement with CCA reflected his desire to support the profession and provide opportunity for the next generation of design talent,” said David Gensler, former co-CEO of Gensler. “The Gensler Family is proud to continue our support for CCA and to honor his spirit of giving. ”

Art Gensler was a visionary in the architecture and interior design world, believing design should be created from the inside out. Art also believed that architecture not only contributes measurably to the communities and organizations it serves, but also that it has the power to transform everyday life. He served on the board of CCA for 11 years, until his death in 2021.

The new Center arrives at a critical point and represents a significant industry and academic partnership to address architecture’s general lack of diversity and to invest in the future of higher education in the arts and design.