In September 1978, Professor Ken Carls walked into 225 Art and Design to teach his first design class. He could not have known that he was taking the first step along a path that would introduce him to thousands of students, colleagues, and friends and that would give him access to an unimaginable world of ideas and experiences. He continued along this path, teaching and interacting with those students, friends, and colleagues until his retirement from the University of Illinois in 2005.
Upon departing the university and the School of Art and Design, he found it natural to reflect, not only on the productive years he spent here, but also on how he could have a lasting effect on the school and advance the development of students yet to come. Ken believes that the quality of an education is commensurate with the depth of opportunity available to students—possibilities that can afford them the kinds of beneficial experiences that will contribute to both their personal enlightenment and their professional success.
During his teaching career, Ken regularly championed two particular topics that were critically influential in his own life and work, those being opportunities for international travel and understanding of design history. He believes those to be key components in the education of young designers.
The Kenneth R. Carls Endowment Fund has been established to support in perpetuity the education of design students in those two ways by:
1. Providing funding for an award presented annually to a design student in the School of Art and Design to enable him or her to engage in foreign travel; and
2. Supporting projects related to the study of design history.
Foreign travel impacted Ken's life at a critical time of development and also became the basis for his interest in design history, which perpetuated his desire to provide these experiences for young designers. He believes that this fund will ensure that the cycle of quality experience and opportunity will continue into the future and impact the lives of generations of students to come.
He would be honored by contributions that support the fund and the premise on which it was established.
Gifts are tax deductible to the extent allowed by law.