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March 18, 2014

Corvette designer returns to teach, show his latest work

Jose Gonzalez '00 attracts media attention with Auto Show visit

Corvette designer returns to teach, show his latest work

Detroit may be the Motor City, but Cleveland plays a huge role in producing the cars Americans love. That's because CIA's small but elite Industrial Design program educates a disproportionate number of the nation's top automotive designers.

One of those top-tier designers, Jose Gonzalez ’00, drew media attention when he came back to Cleveland on March 7 to lead an automotive design symposium for current and prospective students at the IX Center, where the Cleveland Auto Show was in full swing.

After the symposium, Gonzalez brought the students onto the showroom floor for what may have been the best show-and-tell exercise they’d ever experienced: he showed them the iconic yet futuristic 2015 Corvette Z06 and the Corvette Stingray convertible. Gonzalez was able to answer their questions from a position of authority, since he was lead designer for both. Before that, Gonzalez was support designer on the 2014 Corvette Stingray, which won the 2014 North American Car of the Year at the North American International Auto Show. CIA grad Kirk Bennion ’84 was lead designer on that award-winning vehicle.

More than half of the symposium participants were high school students from across Ohio interested in automotive design; the others were CIA Industrial Design students who know Gonzalez well. That’s because the loyal CIA alumnus has been returning to his alma mater every year since graduating to teach Saturday automotive design classes.

“GM annually sponsors a project. From week to week, they send down groups of designers to work directly with students on a project that is important to the industry, important to General Motors and an incredible learning experience for the students,” said Dan Cuffaro ’91, chair of the Industrial Design Department.

CIA senior Jennifer Baugher gave a presentation to students about her experiences as a CIA undergrad and an intern.

The following Northeast Ohio media outlets picked up on the story of Gonzalez’s visit:

And in February, the Akron Beacon Journal quoted CIA grad and automotive design heavyweight Joseph Dehner ’88 in another article about the Auto Show. Dehner is head of Dodge and Ram design for Chrysler.

Above: CIA grad and GM automotive designer Jose Gonzalez at the Cleveland Auto Show March 7, talking to students about the features of the Corvette he designed. Behind the white podium is CIA senior Jennifer Baugher, who gave a presentation earlier that day.

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