Carnegie Mellon University
February 22, 2022

Announcing The Joseph Ballay Center for Design Fusion

Dear Members of the CMU Community,

I am delighted to announce a gift from Joseph Ballay, alumnus and emeritus professor of design, and his wife, Sue, to establish The Joseph Ballay Center for Design Fusion within the College of Fine Arts. Joe and Sue’s extraordinary $10 million commitment — the largest single gift in CFA’s history — will enable the college to establish a formal presence of design expertise and outreach, while also serving as a hub for design courses, executive education, sponsored projects and collaborations, and research.

The Ballay Center will allow the School of Design to expand its existing environment for interdisciplinary work that uses design thinking to solve problems. Among its strategic goals will be increased design course offerings for the entire CMU community, educational programs for working professionals, teaching and research collaborations with industry partners and other organizations, and support for a growing research agenda.

Joe is a double alumnus of CMU, earning a bachelor’s degree in management in 1960, and a master’s degree in design in 1970. He joined what was then our Department of Design as a faculty member, becoming its head soon thereafter. In that role, he was a key driving force in developing the department’s focus, curriculum and administration, and ultimately helping to establish the School of Design. In 1989, Joe partnered with two CMU colleagues to found MAYA Design, Inc., an interdisciplinary design consultancy that applies design theory and practice to complex problems. Over its 23 years and counting, MAYA became a “technology design lab,” spinning off four companies and growing to a team of 50 people.

Throughout Joe’s career, he has advocated for approaches to design that transcend disciplines, and that consider both technology and humanity. This vision of the intersections of arts, technology and humanity is at the heart of Carnegie Mellon’s culture, and The Ballay Center will add to our leadership and expertise in these areas.

With Joe and Sue’s gift, I’m pleased to share that more than 55,000 supporters have contributed more than $1.84 billion in support of Make Possible: The Campaign for Carnegie Mellon University.

We are grateful to Joe for his lifetime of service to the field of design and the College of Fine Arts, and for this exceptional gift. Please join me in thanking Joe and Sue and congratulating the entire School of Design community on this exciting new resource!
Warm regards,

Farnam Jahanian
Henry L. Hillman President’s Chair