Before Gianfranco Ocampo embarked on his first trip to Europe this fall as a participant in the Berlin Studio study away program, we sat down for a conversation with the upper-term Graphic Design major. Ocampo loves to travel, and over the years his family in Los Angeles has hosted many exchange students, one of whom in turn hosted Ocampo when he visited Japan for his 18th birthday. Already bilingual (English and Spanish), Ocampo learned to speak Japanese and to cook Japanese food. Confident and outgoing, he’s a people-centric person at home in the role of ambassador. As a peer mentor with the Center for the Student Experience (CSE), he welcomes incoming students to ArtCenter and this year was named president of OutNetwork, ArtCenter’s Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Transgendered, Questioning, Intersex and Allies (GLBTQIA) student club. The group is dedicated to fostering a multidisciplinary, multigenerational community that shares an interest in the intersection between GLBTQIA identity and the creative arts; members include current students and faculty as well as alumni. For Ocampo, advocating for important causes is integral to his calling as a designer.
“There’s nothing more pleasant than helping someone in need and watching them achieve success,” said Product Design graduate Vladimir Almonnord, recipient of Art Center’s Student Leadership Award for the Spring 2013 term. “It’s the fuel that keeps me going and that motivates me at times I feel defeated.”
Each term, Art Center presents the Student Leadership Award to a deserving student from the College. The award is a distinguished honor granted to a graduating student who exemplifies leadership qualities and accomplishments that stand out above their peers.
“He has a passion for the process of designing meaningful products, is a superb visual storyteller and produces exceptional results on a grand scale,” said one faculty nominator of Almonnord, a student who forged a unique path that fused product design, illustration, entertainment design and transportation design.
“What surprised me the most about him was how he shares his time and thoughts with almost anyone and everyone that approached him,” said a student nominator.
“He reminds me of what kind of growth is possible, not just in skills, but in character, professionalism and attitude,” added another faculty nominator of Almonnord who, as a team leader for the Designmatters Change on the Streets transdisciplinary studio, helped address two critical issues facing the city of Pasadena: homelessness and panhandling.
“Perhaps his most important leadership achievement while at Art Center is how he willingly nurtured the talents of his peers,” said Dean of Students Jeffrey Hoffman when introducing Almonnord to the stage at last week’s graduation ceremony.