Diversity: good for education, good for business

by February 26th, 2013

GM Design Chief Ed Welburn (second from right) speaks with Transportation Design student.

Most Art Center students will tell you that being part of a diverse student body enriches their educational experience. The opportunity to collaborate with other artists and designers from a broad range of backgrounds and perspectives is a hallmark of the Art Center experience. It’s one of the reasons that diversity and inclusion are included in the College’s six governing values and principles, and broadly represented throughout the College’s strategic plan.

Of course, diversity isn’t just good for education. It’s also good business. Many of Art Center’s corporate partners are choosing to enhance their philanthropic support of the College with scholarships that promote diversity – of experience, economic background, race, gender and more.

Art Center partner Sodexo is a case in point. The food services and facilities management company, which priorities diversity and inclusion, recently made a gift to continue its annual Sodexo Diversity Scholarship. Established in 2011, the scholarship provides financial assistance to qualifying students from diverse and historically underrepresented groups.

The GM Foundation Annual Diversity Scholarships funded by General Motors are another example. The company’s decades-long partnership with Art Center is marked by support of Transportation Design students through scholarships, sponsored educational projects and internships. The new scholarships support both undergraduate and graduate Transportation Design students with a priority for those underrepresented in the industry and at the College. These scholarships help Art Center achieve its goal of enrolling, retaining and graduating students from diverse backgrounds.

What, exactly, is the case for diversity in business?

CEO and President Alan Mulally of Ford Motor Company, which recently enhanced its nearly 60-year legacy of supporting Art Center Transportation students by creating the Ford Blue Oval Scholarships that give preference to students from underserved backgrounds, writes: “Successful companies are the ones that satisfy their customer’s wants, needs and desires. The data clearly show that if your customer base is global and diverse and you reflect their perspectives and their knowledge, you’re going to have a better chance for success. The closer you get to their emotional and intellectual roots, the better you’re going to communicate with them.”

To learn more about how to create a scholarship at Art Center, contact Maya Fredrickson.

Students interested in learning more about the scholarship application process and availability of aid at Art Center may contact the Financial Aid Office at 626.396.2215 or finaid@artcenter.edu.

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