Art Center alumni are playing a growing role in helping to implement the College’s community-generated strategic plan, Create Change, with philanthropic support across a broad range of areas. Among the most talked about during the past year were gifts totaling $5 million to enable Art Center to acquire a former U.S. Postal Service property in Pasadena. The new property will effectively double the size of South Campus, transforming it from a “satellite” location to a fully-realized campus, with extensive benefits for students and faculty and for local residents.
Richard Law (Industrial Design ’58) is one of the visionary alumni donors who made the purchase possible. He generously offered his thoughts about investing in Art Center at what many are calling a pivotal moment in the College’s history.
Art Center: Can you lead us through your process of making your gift to Art Center? Was it a difficult decision?
Richard Law: It was always important to me to do something with my resources that made a difference in other people’s lives. When I saw the building for purchase, adjacent to the existing South Campus, I thought: This is fabulous. This is what Art Center should be doing. The property, in an urban environment on the edge of Old Pasadena where all the action is, as well as public transit, is a great example of renewing older areas, creating a vital, energetic place.
AC: You chose to make your gift to Art Center in the form of a charitable remainder unitrust and an irrevocable bequest? Why those particular giving vehicles?
RL: They were a natural fit for my plans, because they don’t restrict me financially. There’s also a special satisfaction to be had in knowing that my support will have an impact that I can see in my lifetime.
AC: There are many places deserving of philanthropic support. Why is Art Center a good place to invest?
RL: My work as a landscape architect takes me all over the world. I believe that one of the areas in which the U.S. still has an edge over many other countries is in industries of creativity and innovation. Art Center is one of the few places that foster that part of our culture. It’s important to look at the institutions that are doing that well and invest in them.
AC: Any advice for Art Center faculty, students and staff as South Campus expands?
RL: Take advantage of this opportunity to raise Art Center’s profile so that more people know about the fantastic work that goes on there and the impact the school has on our broader culture and in people’s lives.
Also, never lose sight of what has always made Art Center a great school: great teachers, great students, and an immersive education. I attended the College back when it was on 3rd Street. It was an eye-opening experience. I’d never been exposed to such levels of professionalism. No matter how the campus grows and changes, that should always remain the same.