You may not recognize the name of the Imre Molnar, though as an auto enthusiast, you’ve surely experienced his influence. As college dean, then provost for the College for Creative Studies in Detroit, Molnar was central to CCS’s elevation to that of an automotive design school on par with the Art Center College of Design in Pasadena, California.
Molnar had once taught there, as well.
Born in Hungary and raised and educated in Australia, Molnar earned his bachelor’s degree from the National Art School in Sydney, Australia, and his master of fine arts degree at the Art Center College. He was a design director at outdoor clothing company Patagonia, director of operations for design consultancy firm Hauser Incorporated, and he had a long association (in addition to his graduate work) with Art Center College as a faculty member and administrator.
Molnar joined CCS as college dean in 2001, and oversaw its faculty, curriculum and academic resources. He used his experience and relationships with the global auto industry to lift CCS’s Transportation Degree programs to world leadership levels, according to a statement from the college.
“I admired his values, his intelligence, his talent, his determination and his passionate devotion to his family and the college,” said CCS president Richard Rogers.
“Imre Molnar was an inspiration to me as a student attending CCS as a professional designer,” said Chrysler design chief Ralph Gilles. “I admired his dedication to CCS and how he focused on continually improving the curriculum, the facilities and the culture. He was truly a world-class man, a mentor and a friend.”
“Imre was a Tour de Force,” said Ford Motor Company marketing chief Jim Farley, who is also a CCS trustee. “For the past decade, he was the engine that helped make CCS a global powerhouse for design.”
Molnar died December 28 in California, of a heart attack, while biking. He was 61. He is survived by wife, Felicia, and children Isabelle and Max.