Created by an Alumnus and Automotive Design Master, the Bryan Thompson Transportation Design Scholarship Offers an Important Resource to LGBTQ Students and Supporters at CCS.
This endowment provides scholarships to students in the Transportation Design department.
In 2014, TruTV viewers were glued to their seats to watch each week’s installment of “Motor City Masters,” a unique reality program that pitted “10 talented designers from different parts of the automotive industry against each other in the ambitious task of creating new, fully-functional concept cars based around a theme.” Four College for Creative Studies alumni were part of that original cast, with two earning top honors.
Transportation Design alumnus Bryan Thompson won first runner-up, and pledged to create the Bryan Thompson Design Scholarship, which will reward talented students who are members of, or have demonstrated support for, LGBTQ communities and want to pursue Transportation Design at the College for Creative Studies.
Not long after competing on “Motor City Masters,” Thompson told CCS then about his passion for mentoring young designers and his idea to use the prize money to establish a scholarship at the College. “I’m getting to the point in my career where I’d like to give back,” he explained. “I’m eager to share what I’ve learned with aspiring designers and reach out to those who may be doubting their potential.”
Thompson emphasized the challenges lesbian and gay students can face in college and, while college campuses are generally more inclusive than they once were, harassment, for example, remains a critical concern; statistics indicate that 13.4 percent of LGBTQ high school students have considered not attending college because of it.
Thompson has pointed out the impact encouragement and investing in potential can have, as “inspiration and confidence can lead to opportunities you never imagined were within your reach.”
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About Bryan Thompson
Designer and Media Consultant Bryan Thompson has spent nearly two decades developing a broad and varied portfolio. Beginning his career at Nissan, he designed Nissan’s first full-size truck interior for the Titan and the exterior themes for both the NV Concept and Productions vans. He also wrote a letter to the president of Airstream, maker of iconic American recreational vehicles, that eventually landed him a collaboration resulting in the Nissan / Airstream designed Basecamp and the confidence to pursue opportunities for his own consultancy.
Now a full-time independent designer, Thompson continues to work with Airstream, designing the second generation BaseCamp and the Nest campers, among others. His automotive clients include Volvo/Mack Trucks, Honda, Subaru as well as luxury interiors for Brazilian company Embraer’s executive jet range. Most recently he led design development for autonomous start-ups Zoox and Nuro. Beyond transportation design, Thompson’s creative repertoire spans commercial interiors, environment and set design for music videos and commercials, as well as design journalism for a number of media outlets, including ABC’s “Good Morning America,” BravoTV, NBC/Universal.
In the first year of developing this scholarship, Thompson managed to raise 50,000 dollars from donors and artistic fundraisers. Bryan is currently creating a series of illustrations that will be shown in late 2020 with proceeds going to this scholarship. The paintings will celebrate 1970’s automotive design with homages to his mentors in the car industry, such as Tom Matano, Jerry Hirshberg, Tom Semple, Alfonso Albaisa, Diane Allen and more.