Richard Keyes didn’t stay long the first time he took the stage at Art Center’s 2013 Summer commencement ceremony to accept the Great Teacher Award. That’s likely because he knew he’d return shortly in his other capacity, as the event’s keynote speaker. Keyes, who is both an alum (Graphic Design ’87) and beloved faculty member has made a habit of multitasking throughout his career at Art Center, where he straddles five departments — Graduate Industrial Design, Entertainment Design, Photography, Integrated Studies and Art Center at Night. For insight into why he received the highest honor awarded by Art Center students, look no further than the speech itself (posted in its entirety below), which culminates in a moving fable, accompanied by a slideshow of images hand-drawn by student, Katia Grifols, who has been Keyes’ T.A. for three terms.
You have reason to expect a celebrity sending you off into the world today, but you are getting a teacher. Conversely, when I came to Art Center 30 years ago I occasionally expected teachers and got celebrities, so I hope I can redress the balance somewhat. But not before I state how much I have learned from you, quite probably the most impressive student body in the creative world.