College for Creative Studies Announces Ralph Gilles as Speaker and Honorary Degree Recipient for 2024 Commencement Ceremony

Detroit, MI, May 09, 2024 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- College for Creative Studies (CCS) is pleased to welcome Ralph Gilles, Stellantis Chief Design Officer, as the honorary degree recipient and commencement speaker for the graduating class of 2024.

Gilles graduated from CCS with a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in Transportation Design and joins a list of recent commencement speakers including Doug Chiang, Patricia Moore, Kevin Beasley ‘07, Edward T. Welburn, Jr., and Brenda Goodman ‘65.

“CCS will always hold a special place in my heart as it played a pivotal role in shaping my artistic foundation and helped to launch my career path. It holds a lifetime of memories and the connections I’ve formed with fellow artists have become lifelong friendships,” said Ralph Gilles, Chief Design Officer, Stellantis. “Being selected as this year’s commencement speaker and receiving an honorary degree is an overwhelming honor.”

For over three decades, Ralph Gilles has been the driving force behind some of the most iconic vehicles on the road. As the chief design officer for Stellantis, Gilles wields his creative finesse across legendary brands: Chrysler, Dodge, Jeep®, Ram, Fiat (for Latin America) and Maserati.

During his tenure, Gilles also served as president and CEO of the Dodge//SRT brand and achieved three national titles, including the 2012 NASCAR Sprint Cup Driver’s Championship and the 2014 IMSA TUDOR United SportsCar Championship GTLM-class driver’s, including a variety of team titles.

As a key member of the global Top Executive Team and the Stellantis Global Diversity Council, Gilles works to engineer a more inclusive and harmonious workplace as the executive sponsor for two employee business resource groups, the Stellantis African Ancestry Network Diaspora and the Working Parents Network. 

Gilles has earned numerous academic and industry awards, including the EyesOn Design Lifetime Achievement Award (2023), Multicultural Media Lifetime Achievement Auto Industry Award (2021), Concours d’Elegance of America’s Enthusiast of the Year (2017), The Michigan State Eli Broad Graduate School of Management Young Alumni Achievement Award (2005) and The Automotive Hall of Fame Young Leadership & Excellence Award (2003). 

An avid car enthusiast, Gilles’ love for the automotive industry is evident outside of the office, where you can find him on the weekends competing in Radical Racing events or tackling legendary racetracks around the country. Sometimes, he even doubles as a driving coach, imparting wisdom to aspiring racers. A competitor at heart, he has participated in the Targa Newfoundland Rally, Car and Driver’s One Lap of America and the SRT Viper Cup Series. In addition, he frequently serves as a judge at various Concours d’Elegance events across the country, including Pebble Beach, Amelia Island and the EyesOn Design car show.

Netflix’s lens turned toward Gilles in season one of “Abstract: The Art of Design,” where they not only captured his essence, but they also followed him through the design studios, on racetracks, and with his team who helps fuel his creativity.  

Gilles earned a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Transportation Design from the College for Creative Studies (CCS) and an MBA from Michigan State University. He serves as a member of the board of trustees at CCS and is also the 2023-2024 Ambassador’s Club co-chair as part of the company’s involvement with the United Way for Southeastern Michigan.

The College for Creative Studies (CCS) is a nonprofit, private college accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC) and authorized by the Michigan Department of Education to grant Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees. CCS, located in midtown Detroit, strives to provide students with the tools needed for successful careers in the dynamic and growing creative industries. CCS fosters students’ resolve to pursue excellence, act ethically, engage their responsibilities as citizens, and learn throughout their lives. With world-class faculty and unsurpassed facilities, students learn to be visual communicators who actively use art and design toward the betterment of society.

The College is a major supplier of talent to numerous industries, such as transportation, film and animation, advertising and communications, consumer electronics, athletic apparel, and many more. Its graduates are exhibiting artists and teachers, design problem solvers and innovators, as well as creative leaders in business.


Ralph Gilles, Stellantis Chief Design Officer

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