Dear Colleagues:

I write to announce that Rachel Switzky, an executive director at international design and consulting firm IDEO, has been selected to be the inaugural director of our Siebel Center for Design. She holds bachelor’s and master’s degrees in industrial design from Illinois and will begin the new role on June 18, pending approval by the Board of Trustees.

We were looking for a visionary leader who understands the transformative educational opportunities for Illinois students that the Siebel Center for Design can catalyze. Throughout her professional career, Director Switzky has been a pioneer in both the concepts and the practices of design thinking across a spectrum of disciplines. This is a powerful combination that has all of us excited to welcome her back home as the inaugural director.

She has worked with many Fortune 100 companies over the past 20 years, leading design teams in imagining and implementing digital design, emergent technologies and impact at-scale. She most recently served on the leadership team of IDEO’s 150-person studio in Palo Alto, California, managing a multi-million dollar design portfolio. Prior to joining IDEO in 2007, she worked in several capacities for the interactive agency Razorfish.

Tom Siebel’s confidence in this university is matched only by the generosity he has demonstrated to it. This latest investment to establish the Siebel Center for Design is a historic new addition to the physical and the intellectual landscape of Illinois. We are excited to have Rachel Switzky lead this new center of innovation at Illinois.

I want to thank the members of the search committee chaired by Professor William Sanders for their efforts in attracting and recruiting a pool of truly outstanding finalists for this position. And I also wish to express my gratitude to Professor Andy Singer for his service as the interim director of the Siebel Center for Design through these critical early stages of program and facility design. 

Please join me in congratulating Rachel Switzky on her new role.


Andreas Cangellaris
Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs and Provost

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