Cheryl Heller Awarded AIGA Medal

Feb 26, 2014 9:20 AM ET

Cheryl Heller, Chair of the MFA Design for Social Innovation Department at the School of Visual Arts, has been awarded the prestigious AIGA Medal, the highest honor of the design profession.

Heller is the Founding Chair of the first MFA program in Design for Social Innovation at SVA and founder of CommonWise. She has taught creativity to leaders and organizations around the world, helped grow businesses from small regional enterprises to multi-billion global market leaders, launched category-redefining divisions and products, reinvigorated moribund cultures, and designed strategies for dozens of successful entrepreneurs.

The AIGA Medal has been awarded since 1920 to individuals in recognition of their exceptional achievements, service and contributions to the field of communication design. AIGA, a network of 25,000 members, is celebrating its centennial this year, and awarding the medal to a special class of 24 leaders in the design profession. Cheryl Heller is joined by three other SVA faculty members in receiving the medal this year.

"I thought I kept moving around and changing too much for anyone to notice that I deserved an award. It's a true honor,” says Heller.

The 2014 AIGA Medal will be presented on April 25 at “The AIGA Centennial Gala” in New York City. “The AIGA Centennial is a time to reflect upon our accomplishments as a profession and to honor this special group of design educators, practitioners and leaders,” said AIGA Executive Director Richard Grefé. “We’re honored to have been able to count them as members, colleagues and dear friends.” Information about “The AIGA Centennial Gala,” including slideshows of the Medalists’ work, is available at

To apply to the MFA in Design for Social Innovation that Heller founded, visit


For further information, please contact:

Hila Mehr, Director of Operations MFA Design for Social Innovation at SVA,

Jennifer Bender, Director of Communications and Marketing at AIGA,

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