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News Release

Brad Hokanson named Director of U of M's Design Institute

Contacts: Laura Weber, College of Design, (612) 625-6566,
Ryan Maus, University News Service, (612) 624-1690,

MINNEAPOLIS / ST. PAUL (12/04/2009) —The College of Design at the University of Minnesota has named Brad Hokanson, associate professor of graphic design (Department of Design, Housing, and Apparel) as the new director of the Design Institute (DI), effective Dec. 1.

“Brad’s positive vision for the Design Institute and his grounded intellect and multidisciplinary background make him the perfect person to direct the DI,” said College of Design Dean Thomas Fisher.

Hokanson’s objectives for the Design Institute are to:

1. Build and rebuild active relationships with the faculty of the college and the design community.
2. Establish a sustainable financial capacity through fundraising, earned monies, and direct support from the university.
3. Develop a series of initiatives that advance understanding of the cause of design at the university, including an ongoing electronic presence using static and dynamic Internet tools, social networking software and print-on-demand publishing.

“My view of design is broad, encompassing the field from graphic design to urban design,” Hokanson said. “This position in the College of Design gives me the chance to connect and create in a wide range of venues and to advance design at the university and in the state of Minnesota.”

Hokanson’s scholarship and teaching involve design, creativity and innovation. He earned a Bachelor's degree in studio arts from Carleton College, a Bachelor of Architecture degree from the University of Minnesota, a Master of Architecture degree in urban design from Harvard University and also a doctorate in instructional systems technology from the U of M. Honors he has received include the outstanding teaching award from the College of Design in 2008.

The Design Institute established a reputation internationally as a think tank for design. Under the leadership of its previous director, Janet Abrams, the Design Institute did innovative work in areas ranging from digital typography to knowledge mapping to design in K-12 education.

“We hope to build on the past accomplishments of the Design Institute,” said Fisher, “and refocus it on the pressing issues that face us in a very different social, economic and environmental context than existed a decade ago. We all need to be much smarter about how we use resources and allocate funds to achieve the greatest benefit. Design plays a pivotal role in that, and the DI is ideally positioned to lead in that effort.”

Tags: College of Design

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