Leaned back in his chair with his chin in his hands, Stan Kong, assistant professor of Industrial Design, reminisces about his days in college.
“The opportunity to learn is one of the things I loved about college, along with the people,” said Kong.
As a boy, Kong”s family were immigrants and didn”t have a lot of money. He made his own toys and was fascinated learning how things came together by watching his mother (a seamstress) sew. In high school he learned to build bicycles, skateboards and jewelry. He eventually began to sell the jewelry. Design was in his blood.
His face lights up when he talks about teaching. He has taught at PCC since 1987 and at the Art Center since 1983.
His students have gone on to work for large corporations such as Mercedes Benz, Disney, Apple and BMW.
“It makes me feel good to know I have had a great impact on the world in some way,” said Kong.
Lauren Takayama, industrial design, changed her major because of the encouragement she got from Kong.
“I didn’t think I had the ability to do industrial design but with encouragement from Kong my perspective changed,” said Takayama.
Kong”s mentor John Caldwell, a famous furniture designer, was a teacher at PCC who encouraged Kong to go to PCC and also Art Center. When Caldwell retired, Kong took over the program that Caldwell had started.
“He did wonderful things for me,” said Kong of Caldwell.
Kong was a student at Art Center of Design in 1983 and left to pursue his career, but was offered a position to work there and took the job. He decided to go back and get his bachelors degree in 2002. He chose that year because 12 out of the 13 students that were graduating he had taught and it was special to him to graduate with them.
Kong was working as an industrial designer and teaching at the same time, but he decided to pass on prominent jobs because teaching was so important to him.
He has no regrets. “There is nothing I would want to change. I want to be a teacher and I get to do what I want,” said Kong.
He stops and thinks for a minute, then starts to laugh. “Well if I could go back, I would like to know what the lottery numbers are,” said Kong.
“Stan has one of the best reputations with students,” said Joe Futtner, Interim Dean of Visual Arts and Media Studies.
“He makes you believe in yourself, he is always happy to help with questions and,encourages students to follow their dreams,” said Oksana Byka, product design.
“I really like to be able to help improve peoples lives, the reward is great,” said Kong.