Richard Saul Wurman to present Commencement address
Richard Saul Wurman, the highly distinguished pioneer of information architecture who founded the TED conference and has authored 83 books on topics ranging from football to health care to city guides, will offer remarks to the graduates and be awarded an honorary doctorate when Salve Regina celebrates its 64th Commencement Sunday, May 18.
Wurman, who has been described by Fortune magazine as an “intellectual hedonist” with a “hummingbird mind,” has made it his mission to make the complex clear. His first book, published when he was 26, features models of 50 world cities on a uniform scale. His latest book is called “33: Understanding Change & the Change in Understanding.” He has also written two books on Louis I. Kahn, his mentor, but he likes to say that all of his works spring from the same place – his ignorance.
He created the ACCESS city guides, using graphics and logical editorial organization to make places such as New York, Tokyo and Rome understandable to visitors. Wurman’s road atlas employed similar techniques to elucidate U.S. geography and transportation networks. Several of his books are in the permanent collection of the Museum of Modern Art in New York.
Wurman chaired the IDCA Conference in 1972, the First Federal Design assembly in 1973, and the annual AIA Conference in 1976. He created and chaired the TED conference from 1984-2002, bringing together many of America’s clearest thinkers in the fields of technology, entertainment and design. He also created and chaired the TEDMED conference in 1995 and the eg conference in 2006.
Now in his late 70s, Wurman continues to quell his restless intellect with a slew of new projects. Recently, he completed the first WWW Conference Intellectual Jazz, which consists of improvised conversations between pairs of some of the world’s greatest minds. His next endeavor will be the 555 conference, consisting of 5 experts, 5 predictions of future patterns, for the next 5 years, held in 5 cities circumnavigating the world over 5 consecutive weeks.
He continues to work with Esri and @radical.media on his comparative cartographic initiative for mapping urban settings, 19.20.21., which will culminate in the creation of a network of live Urban Observatories around the world.
Wurman received both his master of architecture and bachelor of architecture degrees from the University of Pennsylvania, from where he graduated in 1959 with the highest honors and was awarded the Arthur Spayd Brooks Gold Medal.
He has been awarded several honorary doctorates, two Graham Fellowships, a Guggenheim and grants from the National Endowment for the Arts as well as recently becoming a distinguished professor of the practice of design in the College of Arts, Media and Design at Northeastern University.