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Honored Guests at Commencement

On Saturday, May 31, four leaders in contemporary culture celebrated with approximately 700 bachelor’s and master’s degree recipients at RISD’s 2014 Commencement ceremony. This year’s special guests included two honorary degree recipients: author and multitalented designer Todd Oldham (left) and cultural, diplomatic and health advocate Jean Kennedy Smith (center, receiving the Presidential Medal of Freedom from President Obama in 2012). Design visionary Bruce Mau (right), whose

groundbreaking work on disruptive innovation has influenced countless artists and designers, inspired graduates with a Commencement address pointing to the power of design as a holistic global change agent. For a wrap-up and videos of the day’s highlights, go to commencement-2014.

One of nine RISD students to earn a 2014 Maharam STEAM Fellowship in Applied Art and Design, Blake Hiltunen MFA 14 SC has already begun getting comfortable with bees as he gears up for a summer internship at Overland Apiaries in Maine. He’s working with the owner of the all-natural beekeeping operation to construct a mobile “observational” honeybee hive that “will allow visitors to peer into the inner recesses of a colony usually hidden from humans’ view,” he explains. “We also hope to educate people on the vital role bees play in generating over one-third of the world’s food sources,” Hiltunen says. “It’s incredibly important that we protect these creatures from pesticides, which is the direct cause of widespread colony deaths.” Maharam Fellows earn stipends of up to $5,000 48


each to intern with government agencies or nonprofit organizations that don’t typically turn to creative practitioners for help. Students interested in socially conscious projects find their own internship opportunities and submit detailed proposals outlining how their experience will help strengthen the role of visually acute critical thinkers in helping to improve public policy and address large social issues.

Follow the exploits of the 2014 Maharam Fellows at

Winners then chronicle their experiences by blogging about them over the summer and submitting a final report to Maharam about their discoveries.

above and left: photos by Abigail Crocker

STEAMy Summer Ahead

RISD XYZ Spring/Summer 2014  

Rhode Island School of Design alumni magazine

RISD XYZ Spring/Summer 2014  

Rhode Island School of Design alumni magazine