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students in caps and gowns at winter commencement

Congratulations to our 2022 graduates! By completing your degree at College for Creative Studies, you have reached a significant milestone in your life. We salute you on your accomplishments and wish you well on your future endeavors.

Spring 2022 Graduation and Commencement Information

The Aretha Franklin Amphitheatre
2600 Atwater St, Detroit, MI 48207

Parking is directly north across Atwater St. from the venue in a surface lot. *** This is where students and guests park.
Important weather note: The venue is outside, although covered. Please plan and dress for the weather. We will have a rain contingency so graduates are not standing in the rain, should that happen.

Date and Time
May 12th, 2022
Graduates arrive at 1:00pm and check in for a 1:30pm rehearsal.
Doors open at 3:00pm for guests; Ceremony starts at 3:30pm. The ceremony is estimated to last for 2 hours. Graduates are expected to stay for the entire ceremony.

Watch the livestream here 

Please contact the Student Affairs Office with any questions or concerns. (313) 664-7879 or email at

Additional Information


Each graduate will receive 10 tickets for their guests. Graduates will not need a ticket for the ceremony. Please plan to distribute tickets to guests ahead of time; graduates will not be able to meet guests at the entrance to give them tickets. There is also no will-call option. Tickets will be handed out at the cap and gown pickup.


Commencement will be live streamed.

Provided below is the link to The Aretha Franklin Amphitheatre YouTube page, which will feature the livestream the day of the ceremony-


Cap & Gown

You will pick up your cap and gown from the Student Affairs Office (located in the Yamasaki Building on the Ford campus) in mid-April along with Commencement tickets, and an alumni gift. We are planning for cap and gown pick up to be April 18-21; 9:00am – 4:00pm, but you will receive an additional email confirming this date in the near future. This date may change due to ongoing shipping delays.

Student Speaker Application

CCS has a tradition of having a member of the graduating class speak at Commencement on behalf of the graduating class. If you would like to apply, request an application by emailing Applications are due April 15th.


Immediately following the ceremony, there will be a reception on campus with a preview of the Student Exhibition Opening (SEO.) No work will be for sale at that time, but this is a great opportunity to show guests the Student Exhibition and meet faculty. Parking will be available on both campuses.

Custom Diploma Frames

Custom diploma frames are available through the Student Affairs Office. There are two options: a high gloss black frame with gold trim and a contemporary black frame. Both come with a custom double mat, in black and gold, which has the college seal and name embossed in gold. The frames are designed to hold an 11″ by 14″ diploma.

The cost of each frame is $85 plus tax if they are purchased on campus, and $115 plus tax if they need to be shipped. This price reflects the actual costs. They are also available through the framing company’s website,

If you would like to order a frame you can stop by the Student Affairs Office during business hours, 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m,. or contact us at 313.664.7879 or


Additional emails will go out over the next few weeks confirming SEO information and the date for cap and gown pick up.

2022 Commencement Speech - Patricia Moore

a black and white photo of a class of kids at school


CCS Commencement 2022
Patricia Moore
12 May 2022


Can you picture your first day of school?
I don’t mean your first day of classes at CCS,
your first day of school.

Were you excited?
Did you cry?
Were you happy to meet new friends?

Did you take a bus?
Or walk with your parent tightly holding your hand?
Do you remember what you wore?

I had the cutest red dress trimmed in white and
I wore matching KEDs sneakers 
with white, folded down socks.

My Mother insisted on giving me a home perm.
I can still smell the toxic fumes,
and I’m sure it was the start of my lifelong struggle 
to accept my natural fine, straight hair.

I have my class picture. 
I’ll be happy to share it with you at the Reception.

Do you remember your classroom?

The Kindergarten at PS #9, in Buffalo New York, 
was an immense rectangular space,
full of strange and wonderful delights 
for all of the senses.

In one corner, I spied the paints and easels 
complete with huge pieces of blank paper
just waiting for my genius.

In another, there were piles of wooden blocks 
of all colors, shapes, and sizes,
like nothing I had ever seen before,
and which I wanted to stack into a castle 
at the earliest opportunity.

But, what I remember most were the cards 
hung atop of the black board 
that covered the length of the room.  

They were black with white letters,
printed to resemble chalk.
I found that detail fascinating.

They were the A B C s.
Don’t worry, I’m NOT going to sing the song. 
But can you hear it in your head?
The A B C s.
The fundamental components of the English language.
The foundation for our communication.
The frame work for your life.
This is how the A B C s have defined me thus far in our shared journey:



























Always practice your A B C s.

Let them evolve and grow with each new day’s challenges.

Remember them in the hard times, and the glad times,

and try your best not to falter.

I’ve been blessed with a remarkable array of mentors in my life.

But, the person who influenced me most was my beloved Grand Father.

He came to this country, like so many did, 

a mere boy, alone and afraid,

but full of hopes and dreams for a better life.

He was only schooled to the age of 10.

He never learned to drive a car.

He worked as a laborer in Buffalo’s steel mills 

and took whatever odd jobs he could 

to make the money he saved to build a house and marry.


He had four children, all daughters, my Mother, the youngest.

My happiest memories will always be those hours we sat together,

in a little red row boat, on Rice Lake, in Canada.

He made me a drop line, with two hooks,

so I could help catch our dinner of sun fish, which he fried to perfection 

and served with golden potato pancakes.



He often recited his favorite life advice 

when we needed to hear it most.

Let it be my gift to you 

on this your most special of days:


In your life, 

Do more than just look, try to see,

Do more than simply hear, be sure to listen,

Do more than talk, say something.

and never forget,

You are not here to simply exist,

You are here to make a difference.


Please, never forget what an incredible difference you make

And always remember the most important things

that you learned in Kindergarten:

Hold Hands and Stick Together.

Bless You. 

Stay brave.


2022 Distinguished Alumni Award Speech - Recipient Nina Bianchi

To The CCS Class of 2022:

First, I wish I could be here with you all today! It’s a deep honor to receive this distinguished alumni award. It means a lot to me, our nation, and most important — to you all.

Why does it matter to you that I win this award? 

Because I’m designing our future. And all of you are part of building our new future, too. 

What you create is changing the ways we live our lives. Your work matters. What you create — your ideas, products, technologies, relationships, experiences, memories, artifacts, places, stories —matters.  

When I was at CCS, I had the vision to design a different future for our nation. I knew then that creativity and people who can make things, needed to be the foundation of our country. 

At that time, starting in 2000, I moved to Detroit to come to CCS. The city was a very different place. As a young visionary, I refused to accept what I saw around the city as “the way it was.” I saw the possibility beyond abandoned buildings, empty streets, depressed economy, and severely divided communities. 

I knew a different world was possible. I rolled up my sleeves to join a movement to rebuild a city — Detroit — that our community wanted to see. A more just, resilient, and creative city. Creative people, like you, have the power to change our culture. 

The early transformation years were an adventure. We lifted up the genius that grew up from within our city walls. We brought global leaders into Detroit. We traveled afar to bring learnings back to our hometown Detroit. Many of us were graduates of CCS. We built new places, companies, and opportunities. We proved that a different world was possible. 

We used creativity and imagination to build the jobs of tomorrow when there were few jobs. Each moment is a prototype for the future of work.

This work pays off. United Nations’ (UNESCO) recognizes Detroit as the first City of Design. This is a designation that can help you all in your career journeys moving forward, too.

This monumental period of my career was the first leg of the journey. I received an invitation to serve as a White House Presidential Innovation Fellow. The offer was to help advance the Biden Cancer Moonshot. Former President Obama started this program in the White House Science and Technology Office. This Fellowship had before been awarded to big tech leaders from Silicon Valley. A few of us, including me, broke this stereotype. You don’t have to be from the east or west coast to solve the world’s toughest problems. 

My invitation to this work was not because I was a biomedical expert or cancer researcher. My invitation came because, having come from Detroit, I knew how to make things work. I knew how to make a “moonshot” or big, lofty dream become a real thing. An actual moon landing. Because of my roots and training, I know how to actually make big dreams that matter come true. For example, to really “solve cancer” — we need leaders who can bring different experts together to co-create. 

Now, I help many leaders in our federal, state, and local governments make things work better for people. The pandemic has made it clear that this is more important than ever. More and more creative people are leading customer and patient experience efforts. 

When Sam graciously told me about this award, he also asked what specific kind of service I did.  I think I said something like leadership. I know that creative leaders are our future. Design is to lead in more inclusive, equitable, and participatory ways. 

Did I predict I’d end up here when I graduated in 2004? Exactly here, no. No, I did not. But I had a hunch I had something that mattered. I knew then, as you all should know now, that your work matters. 

A lot. 

And if you want it, you can have an enormous impact on the world. 

You are the art of possibility. Go forth and be brave! 

You will transform the future.

Thank you.


Introduction to 2022 Distinguished Alumni Recipient - Sam Ajluni

Dear Graduates and Fellow Alumni,

On behalf of the College for Creative Studies Alumni Council, I congratulate you on your graduation and welcome you as members of the CCS Alumni Association.

CCS has an outstanding reputation in the art and design community and beyond…and it’s because of the talent, reach, and contributions of YOU, our graduates.

I feel fortunate to call myself a peer to such an amazing community of artists, visionaries, and creative leaders. The alumni community that you are now a member of, prides itself on maintaining close professional and personal relationships, ensuring a strong network of fellow artists in which to grow.

Thank you in advance for remaining connected to CCS and for sharing your Alumni pride.

I am extremely pleased to welcome you to the CCS Alumni Association, and look forward to connecting with each of you in the years to come

CONGRATULATIONS! And all the best to you.


Now, I’m proud to announce the first recipient of the 2022 Distinguished Alumni Award.

This award was created in order to recognize a CCS alumnus who exemplifies what it means to be a creative leader through outstanding professional or artistic achievements, exceptional leadership in their community, a dedication to service, and a commitment to the advancement of arts education.

After a multi-month process of accepting and reviewing nominations, a selection committee comprised of representatives from the CCS student body, Alumni community, staff, and faculty leadership agreed that this year’s recipient would be Nina Bianchi, a 2004 graduate from CCS’ Communication Design department. 

Since her own graduation from CCS, Nina has used her creative abilities to help lead and design many organizations and programs aimed at social innovation, inclusive design, and simply helping people in need.

From her work in Detroit – with organizations like Design Core, Omni Corp Detroit and the Detroit Digital Justice Coalition, all the way to Washington DC, where she served as a White House Presidential Innovation Fellow, leading health, data and IT transformation efforts at the National Cancer Institute with the Biden Cancer Moonshot –

Nina has perfectly encapsulated what it means to be a creative leader worthy of this honor.

Unfortunately, Nina could not be here in-person to accept the award but has asked me to read her message to you.

I hope I can do it justice.



Office of Student Affairs

Second Floor – Yamasaki Building