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CSUN Speaker Series to Explore the ‘Commerce of Creativity’

Contact: Carmen Ramos Chandler • (818) 677-2130

(NORTHRIDGE, Calif., Nov. 9, 2011) — California State University, Northridge announces a new distinguished speaker series exploring the role of creativity in contributing to business success.

The Commerce of Creativity series kicks off on Thursday, Nov. 17, with award-winning architect Kara Hill, who designed the university’s state-of-the-art Valley Performing Arts Center. The series will continue in 2012 with Tom White, an industrial designer and strategic marketing expert, and Oscar-nominated filmmaker Don Hahn.

The series is designed to recognize the contributions of “a new breed of professional whose distinctive path has defined a new vision of commercial success and creative leadership,” said Robert Bucker, dean of CSUN’s Mike Curb College of Arts, Media, and Communication, which is sponsoring the series.

“Cal State Northridge is committed to educating students who go on to successful careers in creative industries, including art, filmmaking, theater and music,” Bucker said. “We are invested in the value of developing creative problem-solving skills—skills emphasized in the Commerce of Creativity series.  In this new series, we will bring, not only to students and faculty across our campus, but also to the community a celebration of the art of creative problem solving”.

The lecture series will be presented in the Valley Performing Arts Center. Admission to the lectures is free, but reservations are recommended. Reservations may be made by emailing

Kara Hill, Nov. 17, 2011, 7-9 p.m. Hill, an award-winning architect and architectural historian, is the principal of Kara Hill Studio, a Minneapolis-based architecture firm. She designed the 1,700-seat Valley Performing Arts Center at California State University, Northridge, which earned LEED Gold certification because of its energy efficient design and features. From 1994 to 2007, Hill worked at the firm of Hammel, Green and Abrahamson, Inc. As a lead project designer, she led design teams of architects and engineers from the initial marketing efforts through construction administration. Her projects included performing arts centers, museums, conservatories and corporate headquarters. She has taught art and architecture at MIT, Harvard University and at the University of Minnesota.

Tom White, Feb. 16, 2012, 7-9 p.m.  Tom White, founder of 3DI2, is known for setting new standards for linking brand development to sales growth, and for introducing new products based upon the creation of an emotional identity. White began his career as the youngest marketing executive in the history of Lockheed-Martin, responsible for promotion of all Lockheed products and programs worldwide. After successfully positioning the company to win a $70-billion fighter jet program, White founded his firm in 1990. Working in the United States and Europe, White was immediately engaged by Fortune 500 leaders to oversee brand transformation programs for Motorola, Philips, Volvo and Iridium.  In all, White has worked with clients including Paccar’s DAF Trucks division, Clear Wireless, Shell, Microsoft, Agilent, GE Plastics, Ugo, Takeya and others. He graduated from Cal State Northridge in 1978 with a degree in Industrial Design and honors from the Industrial Design Society of America, and received an MBA from Pepperdine University in 1984.

Don Hahn, April 26, 2012, 7-9 p.m. Hahn, who graduated from Cal State Northridge in 1975 with a degree in music, began his career in animation working for Disney legend Wolfgang Reitherman as an assistant director on “The Fox and the Hound.” He moved through the ranks at Disney, eventually becoming producer for the landmark animated feature “Beauty and the Beast,” released in 1991, which made him the first producer in Hollywood to be nominated for a Best Picture Oscar for an animated film. His next production, “Lion King,” released in 1994, set worldwide box office records for an animated film and quickly became the highest grossing traditionally animated film in history.

For more information about the Commerce of Creativity lecture series, visit the website or call Andrea Reinken at (818) 677-4196.

The Mike Curb College of Arts, Media, and Communication is inspired by the shared belief that art is communication, that communication is an art, and that art and communication are essential pillars for building and maintaining community. Many of its programs, including those in art, music, theater, cinema and television arts and journalism have an international reputation for graduating skilled professionals who go on and make names for themselves in their respected fields.

California State University, Northridge has nearly 37,000 full- and part-time students and offers 66 bachelor’s and 53 master’s degrees as well as 28 teaching credential programs. Founded in 1958, CSUN is among the largest single-campus universities in the nation and the only four-year public university in the San Fernando Valley. The university serves as the intellectual, economic and cultural heart of the Valley and beyond.