Rob Forbes|09-17-2016

Commencement Speech at UCSC 6-12-16

Rob Forbes Commencement Speech at UCSC 6-12-16

I was invited, and honored, to give this year’s commencement speech in June at the University of California at Santa Cruz, my alma mater. Preparing the talk got me to think seriously about what mattered to me in my twenties and what matters to me today. I took the speaking assignment seriously enough to write down the speech.

Trying to be relevant to undergraduates, most of whom were neither design nor liberal arts majors was unfamiliar ground, so I focused on issues that would be relevant to anyone confronting the working world for the first time.  This came down to two issues: first, finding a passion worth pursuing (Falling in Love) and second, not putting up with bad bosses (Avoiding Dickheads).

I also acknowledged that my most valuable turning points in life came from taking extended period of time off for reflection. For example, I actually dropped out of UCSC after my sophomore year, bolted off to Europe, worked for artists, dove into ceramics, and became a maker of objects. I’m going back to that obsession, setting up a ceramics studio, having some fun and playing in the mud again.

Question: Have any ceramics you love?

I’m curious if you have any functional ceramics that are either part of your everyday life, or pieces you admire aesthetically. In can come from pre-history or Picasso or IKEA. If you do have a favorite, please send a photo along to I’ve selected a few of my favs below.