Great Rivalries: Art Center College vs College For Creative Studies

August 21, 2009
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There are many ways to become a car designer, but the easiest path is attending a school boasting a dedicated curriculum. First in the United States was the school created in 1926 by the Detroit Society of Arts and Crafts, now the College for Creative Studies. Its world-first car-design program began in 1933, well before that of its principal rival, California's Art Center College of Design.
CCS claims to have graduated more car designers than any other institution, while Art Center has produced more chief designers, including Ford leaders Jack Telnack ('58) and J Mays ('80), GM's Wayne Cherry ('62), Nissan's Shiro Nakamura ('81), and the last two BMW chiefs, Chris Bangle ('81) and Adrian van Hooydonk ('92). Add in Luc Donckerwolke ('91) at Lamborghini and Seat, Richard Teague ('50) at Packard and American Motors, and Frank Stephenson ('86) at McLaren, and you have an all-star roster. CCS has Ralph Gilles ('95) at Chrysler along with two prominent female designers, Anne Asensio ('87) and Crystal Windham ('94), both of whom were high up at GM.
With quite different approaches (Art Center is famous for its students' flashy renderings, CCS for the seriousness of academic programs run alongside the requisite applied art classes), both are genuinely excellent institutions. Here are some of their graduates:
Art Center College of Design (ACCD) prominent transportation design alumni
  • Tom Matano, '74: Mazda advanced design (where the Miata was created), now head of the car design program at the Academy of Art University in San Francisco
  • Henrik Fisker, '89: Aston Martin, Ford advanced design, Fisker Coachbuild
  • Larry Shinoda, '54: Corvette Sting Ray, Corvair Monza SS, Mustang Boss 302
  • Freeman Thomas, '83: Chrysler, Ford advanced design; VW Concept 1, Audi TT, Chrysler 300
  • Frank Stephenson, '86: Ferrari, Fiat, Alfa Romeo, McLaren; BMW X5, new Mini
  • Bob Cadaret, '53: 1956 Corvette face-lift, work on 1957 Chevrolet
  • Jeff Teague, '78: (son of Richard Teague) Volkswagen, global vice president of design at Ford
  • C. Mark Jordan, '81: (son of Chuck Jordan, retired GM VP) Mazda advanced design; 1989 Miata (with Wu-Huang Chin under Tom Matano)
  • Franz von Holzhausen, '92: Mazda, Tesla Motors; Pontiac Solstice
  • Chip Foose, '90: Celebrated hot-rod designer, Overhaulin' TV personality
  • Dave Stollery, '66: Founding designer of Calty (Toyota's U.S. design studio); AREX concept
College for Creative Studies (CCS) prominent transportation design alumni
  • Anne Asensio, '87: VP design experience at Dassault Systèmes, formerly executive director of advanced design at General Motors
  • Bob Boniface, '93: Director of Chevrolet Volt exterior; Chevy Camaro, hydrogen-powered GM Sequel
  • Bruce Campbell, '74: Vice president of design at Nissan Design America
  • Ralph Gilles, '95: Vice president of design at Chrysler
  • Kevin Hunter, '82: President of Calty Design Research, Inc., the North American arm of Toyota's global design network
  • Tom Kearns, '87: Chief designer at Kia Design Center America; first-gen Cadillac CTS
  • Ryoji Okazaki, '93: President of Toyota Europe Design Development
  • Camilo Pardo, '85: Artist/designer, formerly designer at Ford's advanced design studio; chief designer of the Ford GT
  • Joel Piaskowski, '90: Head of design at Mercedes-Benz Advanced Design, formerly chief designer at Hyundai Motor America
  • Patrick Schiavone, '88: Design director for North American Trucks at Ford


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