Alumnus and Trustee Doug Boyd has spent time across the map: he was born in Canada, went to high school in Phoenix, moved to Los Angeles to study Transportation Design at Art Center, then to Detroit for work. But he found himself returning to Southern California—the warm climate and creative energy drew him back. More than a decade after graduating from the College, he found it calling as well, and became reconnected with his alma mater and fellow alumni.
The founder and president of integrated marketing firm Boyd Communications, he was recently appointed to the Art Center Board of Trustees. We sat down with him to find out a little more about our new Board member.
Dotted Line: Any fond memories that you’d like to share about your time at Art Center?
Doug Boyd: How much time do you have? There are so many. The classes I had with Strother MacMinn are memorable to this day. Fine art instructor Lorser Feitelson had some of the most remarkable people stop by his Saturday morning classes. One morning, we came in and Edward G. Robinson was standing there smoking a cigarette in the auditorium with Lorser. They were talking about having lunch with Picasso in Paris, and all the affairs he was having with women. It was fantastic! I have countless memories like this.
Dotted Line: Have you remained active with the College over the years?
Boyd: I have, since returning to Southern California. I’ve been actively involved with alumni groups over the years. Occasionally I’ve helped instructors, coming in to a class and giving special assignments, or sometimes just sitting in on a class and observing. I love being involved and I love being around the students. Their creative energy is contagious.
Dotted Line: You’ve witnessed the evolution of the College over the decades first-hand. How is it different from when you were a student?
Boyd: The differences from when I was a student at the campus on Third Street are extraordinary and quite significant. The world has also changed a great deal–students that were in the school then had a much smaller world to deal with. As the Board, College administration, faculty and alumni look at how to prepare our students for tomorrow, we realize that the world is much more complex, and far more demanding. Therefore, it’s the responsibility of the school to provide an environment and instruction and vision for students to thrive in this new world.
Dotted Line: How are you giving back in your role as Trustee?
Boyd: First of all, you have to give of your time. And of course, you give back in monetary ways, too. I’m trying to do both, but I think the third and most important thing you can give back is by sharing your experiences. When you share your story, it can keep others from hitting the same roadblocks or issues that you might have experienced. This allows them to become better designers and artists, faster.
Dotted Line: Why are scholarships so important for our students?
Boyd: Scholarships were very important to me personally. As a student I was on a General Motors scholarship, and without it, I couldn’t have attended Art Center. So I have a great deal of compassion for students who are in that same boat. Scholarships were extraordinarily important in me getting through school.
Dotted Line: How do we ensure that Art Center continues to attract the best and brightest students?
Boyd: First of all, for years Art Center was really the only one out there offering what we do. Everyone knew we were the best. But now as times have changed, and other schools offer similar programs, and oftentimes led by our alumni. So I think what we’re looking at is how to not fall to a level of commodity.
And you do that by having visionaries and people that are in touch create programs here at Art Center that attract the very best students. You do that by having the very best instructors. And when you have the best students and the best instructors, lo and behold, you have the best graduates. And that’s how you build a great school. It isn’t what you say—it’s what you deliver, and what the alumni have accomplished.
Dotted Line: Any advice for current or prospective students?
Boyd: If you love what you do, if it’s a passion of yours and it’s something you truly want, then Art Center is the place for you. It’s rigorous, but it’s for a reason. The real world is not very kind, and Art Center is a really good boot camp. So when you graduate, you are prepared to compete anywhere, at any level.