President’s message: Syd Mead (1933–2019)

Syd Mead signing books at Car Classic 2014. Photo: Alexandra Wyman

Syd Mead signing books at Car Classic 2014. Photo: Alexandra Wyman

From President Lorne Buchman—

As you may have heard, ArtCenter alumnus and visual futurist Syd Mead passed away from lymphoma on the morning of December 30, 2019. As we return to campus at the onset of a new Spring term, I wanted to acknowledge his passing and to recognize the lasting impact he had on the Entertainment industry and on our own community.

Syd graduated from ArtCenter with a bachelor’s degree in Transportation Design in 1959. While he got his start in the automotive industry, Syd is best known for his work on such unforgettable films as Star Trek: The Motion Picture, Blade Runner, Tron, Aliens and Mission: Impossible III, to name a few. Syd coined the term “visual futurist” to describe his transcendent work as a concept designer and how he interpreted our collective future, whether a dystopian landscape or an idyllic utopia.

We are grateful that Syd remained an active part of our alumni community, returning to campus several times throughout the years as a guest speaker, to host book signings or participate in events like Car Classic (pictured above signing books at Car Classic 2014). He was always very generous with his time and admirably dedicated to the needs of our students.

I was saddened to learn of Syd’s passing but am heartened by the fact that his legacy will live on through his work and through future generations of artists and designers. I am incredibly proud to count him among our alumni and celebrate his long association with the College.

ArtCenter is in early conversations to host an event that celebrates his impact and legacy as a visual futurist. We will provide further information as the event takes shape.

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