Design educator Imre Molnar dies at 61
DETROIT -- Imre Molnar, the longtime academic chief at the College for Creative Studies in Detroit, died Dec. 28 of a heart attack while bicycle riding in California, the school said.
Molnar, 61, was at CCS for 11 years, holding the positions of dean and then provost. CCS is one of the top design schools in the country and counts some of the most important car designers as alumni, including Chrysler's Ralph Gilles and Ford GT designer Camilo Pardo.
Molnar was born in Hungary and grew up in Australia. He also served as design director for clothing maker Patagonia and worked as operations director for design consulting firm Hauser Inc. He also was a consultant for Ford, BMW, Hyundai, Kia and Volkswagen.
He came to CCS in 2001 and was instrumental in the expansion of the transportation design program. On his watch, the school moved to the historic former General Motors design studios in Detroit, allowing aspiring designers to learn in the same spaces Harley Earl and Bill Mitchell once created some of the landmark automotive stylings of the 20th Century.
Molnar also helped create the school's master's of fine arts program. Previously, he was a faculty member at another leading design school, the Art Center in Pasadena, Calif., where he earned a master's degree.
In early 2012, he compiled a list of his favorite designs for Autoweek, a sister publication of Automotive News. The Cadillac Sixteen from 2003 and a Corvette Stingray concept from 2010 were among them.
He remained focused on developing the next generation of cutting-edge designers.
"In order to design, you've got to have a real passion and love for it," he told Autoweek this spring.
Molnar is survived by his wife, Felicia, and children Isabelle and Max.