The FINANCIAL — DETROIT – The General Motors Foundation today announced a $2.5-million donation to the College for Creative Studies (CCS), strengthening a longstanding commitment to the world’s leading educator of automotive designers.
CCS, a world-class school for art and design education located in the heart of the city, is an economic engine and leading supplier of creative talent in Michigan. The foundation’s grant will support the ongoing $145-million redevelopment of the college’s A. Alfred Taubman Center for Design Education.
“The quality of young designers that CCS educates and trains is a tremendous resource for Detroit and the world,” said GM North America President and GM Foundation board member Mark Reuss. “Working to strengthen CCS is critical in our attempts to help Detroit rebound economically and for us to win in the marketplace.”
In 2008, GM donated the former Argonaut building, workplace for industry pioneers such as Charles F. Kettering and GM’s first design chief, Harley Earl, to CCS. A national historic landmark, its design and construction was directed by legendary GM Chairman and CEO Alfred P. Sloan.
In 2009, CCS opened the A. Alfred Taubman Center for Design Education, a $145-million integrated educational and creative community focused on art and design that extends from middle school through graduate school and into professional development.
“In addition to developing world-class creative talent, the project is generating 200 jobs, bringing 2,000 people a day and creating a bustling ambience to Midtown, adding to this area’s renewed vitality,” said College for Creative Studies President Richard L. Rogers.
Rogers said CCS trustees, private foundations, corporations and hundreds of individuals have donated more than $50 million to the project. At least $4 million more is needed to keep the redevelopment on track
GM and The GM Foundation also support CCS through development of the Transportation Design curriculum, and GM designers teach and mentor project leaders. Through the Partners for the Advancement of Collaborative Engineering Education (PACE), GM donates software integral to transportation design as well as helping students gain proficiency with industry tools.
As part of the day’s announcements, the CCS Board of Trustees dedicated the General Motors Auditorium, located on the top floor of the Taubman Center building and the onetime home of GM’s headquarters for its Design and Photographic Departments.
"It is gratifying to see that the GM Auditorium space has come full circle," said Ed Welburn, GM vice president for Global Design and member of the CCS Board of Trustees. "There were no formal colleges dedicated to automotive design in the 1920s and '30s, so Harley Earl established the industry's first transportation design school on the 11th floor of the Argonaut Building. Over time, it produced some of the world's top automotive designers. Now, the space is helping young people reach their potential, and has become a training ground for the 21st Century."