Addressing the graduating class of 2021 at California College of the Arts in a speech, designer, founder of creative collective LoveFrom and formerly chief design officer of Apple Sir Jony Ive delivered a 15-minute speech as part of the university's 114th commencement, celebrating the scholarly achievement of the Class of 2021. The speech was directed towards a total of 34 programs, 23 undergraduate and 11 graduate, across four key disciplines at the CCA - art, design, architecture and writing - but it also applies more broadly to all 2021 graduates across the world, encouraging them to believe in themselves and their art.
The virtual commencement - designed to foster a sense of togetherness despite the mandatory distance - 'fuses traditional ceremonial elements with the aesthetic and spirit of CCA and the Bay Area.' Containing a formal speech by the president of the university, Stephen Beal, alongside Ive's speech filmed by Nick Knight, it welcomes the next generation of talent, celebrating their achievements in the face of hardship. Ive's speech coincides with his receiving of CCA's 2021 Honorary Doctorate Degree, which recognises the designer's devotion to design as an essential and life-changing craft, reinforcing CCA's 114-year legacy of forward-thinking creation in the arts and crafts.
On choosing Ive to be awarded an Honorary Doctorate Degree, CCA President Stephen Beal commented, 'Sir Jony Ive has made an indelible mark on the design community in ways that will forever influence how the world lives and works. We're looking forward to recognising his contributions to design with an honorary doctorate. He's an incredible example for our CCA graduating class of the impact art and design can have on our community and the world.'
Filled with nuggets of knowledge for the students to take home with them and remember long after graduating - 'Opinions are not ideas, opinions are not as important as ideas, opinions are just opinions' and 'being curious fuels our appetite to learn and wanting to learn is far more important than being right' - Ive's talk is motivational in tone and thought-provoking in matter. Reflecting on the significance of art and design in contemporary culture, citing the magnificent consequences of a fiery and creative imagination, Ive also commented that 'without imagination, without profoundly new thinking, and potent ideas, our practice has no purpose,' hammering home the idea that through imagination and creativity comes uniqueness and that innovative designs are a way of defying the ordinary and the mundane.
While acknowledging the elephant in the room - the global pandemic - Ive reflected on the idea that, despite a lack of physical togetherness, graduates, faculty and teachers alike are bound together by sheer love and talent.
'Ceremony creates some space and helps us mark the important moments of our lives, and this is one of those special and important moments. This is quite obviously not the traditional graduation ceremony. Everyone is watching this on a screen, including me, which is quite odd. We should be together. We should be able to feel your excitement and pride. We should be able to share in your joy and in your remarkable achievement. I imagine that many of you are with people who love you and are proud of you, and that is what really matters. This gathering of family, friends, teachers and faculty, are all here to celebrate you; the graduating class of 2021.'