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April 17, 2023

Cleveland Institute of Art welcomes alum Gloria Mark as Commencement speaker

2023 Commencement speaker Gloria Mark '78

Mark is a 1978 CIA graduate who currently is a professor at the University of California, Irvine and recently published a book related to the impact of digital media on people's lives


April 17, 2023

CLEVELAND—Professor, researcher and author Gloria Mark—a Cleveland Institute of Art alum who recently published Attention Span: A Groundbreaking Way to Restore Balance, Happiness and Productivity—will serve as Commencement speaker for CIA’s Class of 2023.

Mark is Chancellor’s Professor of Informatics at the University of California, Irvine and works in the area of human-computer interaction, the study of people interacting with computers. Her primary research interest is in understanding the impact of digital media on people’s lives, a subject she explores in her widely acclaimed book, Attention Span.

Mark’s career path started at CIA, where in 1978 she earned a BFA in Drawing and also studied painting. She then worked at the Cleveland Area Arts Council and British Arts Council painting murals. She became interested in understanding the discovery process of artists and went on to receive her Master of Science in biostatistics from the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor and her PhD in psychology from Columbia University in New York City.

Mark is “thrilled beyond belief” to “come home” to her alma mater.

“Being able to come back to CIA to speak about my life experiences is deeply rewarding,” Mark says. “I have so many things that I want to share with the next generation of artists and designers—things that were never told to me when I was an art student. It’s as if I were able to talk to my future self back when I was a student.”

CIA President + CEO Kathryn J. Heidemann says Mark’s experience will offer valuable lessons to an audience of graduating seniors preparing to embark on the next chapter of their lives and that her career expertise will support the Class of 2023 personally and professionally.

“We are so delighted to welcome Dr. Mark back to campus for this important engagement,” Heidemann says. “Her fascinating and unique career trajectory—specifically as an accomplished researcher and scholar examining the intersection of creativity, psychology and technology—is a testament to the transferability of art and design skills and the applicability of the creative process in critical thinking and innovation.”

In Attention Span, Mark explores how people’s minds have undergone a fundamental shift in how they work in the digital age. The book presents two decades of research on the science of attention, why people are so distracted, and how they can restore balance, happiness and productivity in their lives. Attention Span has been selected by the Next Big Idea Book Club as a Season 20 finalist; ranked as a top nonfiction book for 2023 by Cosmopolitan; and written about for Forbes, Newsweek and CNN.

Mark has published more than 200 articles on the topic of how people and technology interrelate, and in 2017, she was inducted into the ACM SIGCHI Academy, which recognizes top leaders in the field of human-computer interaction. She has also been a Fulbright Scholar.

Mark’s work has been recognized outside of academia: She has been invited to present her work at SXSW and the Aspen Ideas Festival, and her work has frequently appeared in popular media such as The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, NPR, The Atlantic, the BBC, Time magazine and many others.

Commencement will take place at 10am Sunday, May 21 at the Maltz Performing Arts Center in Cleveland’s University Circle neighborhood. This ticketed event is open to CIA students, their families and members of the CIA community.

Michael C. Butz
Cleveland Institute of Art
Director of College Communications + External Relations
216.421.7404 /

Cleveland Institute of Art is a private, nonprofit college of art and design that has been the training ground for countless students who have gone on to make important contributions to the fields of creativity and innovation since it opened in 1882 as the Western Reserve School of Design for Women. Its students have designed internationally recognized products, their artwork has been exhibited in major museums and private collections around the world, and their entertainment media has been enjoyed by audiences and game players for generations. It enrolls about 600 students nationally and internationally and has a faculty of about 100 full-time and adjunct members, all of whom are practicing artists, designers and scholars.

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