Christopher Hawthorne, City of LA Chief Design Officer, to Deliver 2018 Commencement Address

School News

Christopher Hawthorne, City of LA Chief Design Officer, to Deliver 2018 Commencement Address

April 11, 2018

Christopher Hawthorne, chief design officer for the City of Los Angeles, will be the School of Architecture’s 2018 keynote commencement speaker. The ceremony will take place at 11:00 a.m. on Friday, May 11, at Founders Park on the USC University Park Campus.


In his new role with the City, Hawthorne will tackle a range of design projects within the public realm. Hawthorne previously served as architecture critic for the Los Angeles Times from 2004 to March 2018 where he covered local, national and global architecture stories as well as the civic transformation of LA.


His work has also appeared in The New Yorker, Washington Post, Metropolis, Architect magazine, Harvard Design Magazine, Domus, I.D., Volume, Print, Landscape Architecture Magazine and Architectural Record, among others. Hawthorne is also the author, with Alanna Stang, of “The Green House: New Directions in Sustainable Architecture,” and has contributed essays to several books on art, architecture and design. 


“Our commencement speaker has had an incredible influence on the world of art, architecture and design and will continue to positively impact the City of LA in his new role,” said USC Architecture Dean Milton S.F. Curry. “We are so pleased to have Christopher Hawthorne, a leading voice in the design world, share some parting words with this year’s graduating class, their families and guests.”


"I am honored to be the USC School of Architecture commencement speaker this year and thank Dean Curry for the invitation," said Hawthorne. "I think of the graduates of leading architecture schools like USC as my future collaborators in giving intelligent shape to the city of Los Angeles."


Recent keynote speakers from past ceremonies have included Pritzker Prize-winning architect Thom Mayne, landscape architect James Corner and architectural historian Dr. Gwendolyn Wright.


USC Architecture’s commencement ceremony will follow the main USC commencement ceremony, presided over by USC President C.L. Max Nikias, which starts at 8:30 a.m. in Alumni Park.