02/08/19 Gabrielle Bullock, Director of Global Diversity at Perkins+Will, to Speak at 2019 Commencement Ceremony
Gabrielle Bullock, diversity head at global design firm Perkins+Will, will be the USC School of Architecture’s 2019 keynote commencement speaker. The ceremony will take place at 11:00 a.m. on Friday, May 10, at Founders Park on the USC University Park Campus.
Bullock has been at Perkins+Will, the second-largest architecture and design firm in the world, for nearly 30 years. She currently oversees Perkins+Will’s Diversity, Inclusion, and Engagement program, which works to support and strengthen a firm-wide culture that embraces a diversity of people, colors, creeds, credos, talents, thoughts, and ideas. Before stepping into her current role in 2013, Bullock served as the managing director of the firm’s Los Angeles office, becoming the first African-American and first woman to do so. Prior to that, she worked in the firm’s New York office. Over the course of her career, Bullock has overseen several high-profile projects, including UCLA’s Ronald Reagan Medical Center, one of the largest projects completed for the University of California system.
In addition to her accomplishments at Perkins+Will, Bullock is currently president of the International Interior Design Association (IIDA). She is the first African-American woman to hold the position, and previously served as vice president of the IIDA board from 2017-2018. In 2014, she was elected by her peers as a Fellow of the American Institute of Architects (AIA), and now serves on the organization's Equity in Architecture Commission.
“Beyond her impressive career as a design leader, Gabrielle Bullock’s pioneering role as diversity chief at a leading design firm has had wide-ranging effects on the industry at large,” said USC Architecture Dean Milton S. F. Curry. “Gabrielle’s approach to synthesizing excellence and diversity is a model for other leaders to emulate. We are so pleased to have such an accomplished designer and change agent address this year’s graduating students and their guests.”
“I am honored to be the School of Architecture’s commencement speaker, and thank Dean Curry and the school for the invitation,” said Bullock. “Whether it is in a school, an organization, or a firm, a strong homogenous culture will stifle voices, perspectives, and ultimately impact the quality and innovation of that practice. As the future of the design industry, today’s graduates have an untold capacity for change as they embark on their careers.”
Past keynote speakers have included Christopher Hawthorne, the first chief design officer of the city of Los Angeles, Pritzker Prize-winning architect Thom Mayne, and architectural historian Dr. Gwendolyn Wright.
The School of Architecture’s commencement ceremony will follow the university-wide commencement ceremony, which starts at 8:30 a.m. in Alumni Park.