KCAD Celebrates 95th Anniversary

Posted September 8, 2023

KCAD students, faculty, and staff gathered on Pearl St. to celebrate the college's 95th anniversary and kick off the Fall 2023 semester. L to R: KCAD team members Emily Mohill, Mary Bradshaw, Nicole Dekraker, Adam Wetherell, FSU President Bill Pink,
Mandy Zweifel-Hughes, KCAD President Tara McCrackin, and Dean of Academic Affairs Stephen Halko. 

Kendall College of Art and Design of Ferris State University (KCAD) celebrated its 95th birthday this week with a block party and a visit from Ferris State University President Bill Pink.

KCAD has a tremendous history. Helen M. Kendall, the second wife of nationally known Grand Rapids furniture designer David Wolcott Kendall, in 1928 established the David Wolcott Kendall Memorial School to continue her husband's legacy of creativity, education, and innovation. The school opened its doors on March 1, 1931, with 35 art students.

David Wolcott Kendall was the son of a cabinetmaker who taught him the trade. He came to Grand Rapids in 1879 to work for Phoenix Furniture Company, beginning a career that had significant and lasting effects on the furniture industry.

The school started at the old Kendall homestead at 145 Fountain Street and in 1947 became the Kendall School of Design, reflecting its national reputation and changing approaches. The school expanded into a College Ave. location before returning downtown to the former Manufacturers Building in 1984.

In 1987 the name of the school was changed to Kendall College of Art and Design to reflect its status in granting four-year degrees and the equal importance of both art and design in its curriculum.

Under the leadership of KCAD President Tara McCrackin, the college remains true to its mission of preparing students for successful careers in creative fields, including design, the visual arts, and art history.

KCAD students hanging out at the block party.KCAD students, faculty, and staff gathered on Pearl St. on Sept. 7 to celebrate the college's 95th birthday and kick off the fall semester.

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