Award-winning designer Emily Pilloton to deliver 2018 CCAD Commencement address

May 1, 2018

COLUMBUS, Ohio —  Award-winning designer Emily Pilloton will deliver the 2018 Columbus College of Art & Design Commencement address on Saturday, May 12.

Pilloton is a designer, builder, educator, and founder of the nonprofit Project H Design and its sister program, Girls Garage. Using architecture and design as a vehicle for social justice, she works alongside youth ages 9 through 18 to co-design and build public architecture projects that transform communities. She has built a farmers’ market with high-school students, a playhouse with and for the daughters of abused mothers, a school library designed by its own middle-school students, and micro homes for a transitional housing agency. Her work seeks to change the authorship of our built environment and cultivate power in underestimated communities, specifically young girls, undocumented youth, and communities of color.

“Emily is an amazing designer, and we’re thrilled to have her address the next generation of artists and designers as they graduate from CCAD,” said CCAD President Melanie Corn.

Pilloton holds a BA in Architecture from the University of California, Berkeley, and an MFA in Architecture, Interior Architecture, and Designed Objects from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. She is currently a lecturer in the College of Environmental Design at the University of California, Berkeley, and is the author of two books, Design Revolution: 100 Products that Empower People and Tell Them I Built This: Transforming Schools, Communities, and Lives with Design-Based Education.

Her work is the subject of the documentary If You Build It, has been featured on the TED Stage, The New York Times, and The Colbert Report, and was awarded recognition by the Obama Administration’s Office of Science and Technology Policy, the SEED Design Award, and the Curry Stone Design Prize.

CCAD will present Pilloton with an honorary doctorate for her in recognition of her accomplishments as a designer, builder, and educator. CCAD will also present an honorary doctorate to Charles Csuri in recognition of his accomplishments as a digital artist and pioneer in the field of computer graphics, computer animation, and digital fine art.

“CCAD is dedicated to producing graduates equipped to change culture and commerce and drive the creative economy,” Dr. Corn said. “So we’re excited to honor such influential members of the art and design community.”

CCAD’s 139th Commencement will take place at 10 a.m. on Saturday, May 12, 2018, at Mershon Auditorium. For more information, visit

About Columbus College of Art & Design 

Columbus College of Art & Design teaches undergraduate and graduate students in the midst of a thriving creative community in Columbus, Ohio. Founded in 1879, CCAD is one of the oldest private, nonprofit art and design colleges in the United States, offering 12 four-year undergraduate programs and two graduate programs in art and design that produce graduates equipped to shape culture and business at the highest level. For more information, visit

Media contact

Jeannie Nuss
Senior Media Relations Specialist
Columbus College of Art & Design