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Karen Korellis Reuther

BA 1979, Industrial Design
MA, Business, Lesley University

Creative Director/Partner, Cast Collective, Boston, MA

Expectations are high for an industrial designer like Karen Korellis Reuther, creative director and brand strategist at Cast Collective: engage in open-ended thinking and envision design that stays ahead of the curve while simultaneously being decisive and results-oriented. That’s no small order, but Reuther has successfully balanced these skills for companies like the design and innovation firm Ziba, Digital Equipment Corporation, Nike, and Pantone.

The challenge of looking forward is exactly what Reuther, former president of the Design Management Institute, thrives on. “As an industrial designer at Digital Equipment Corporation in the early 90s, I led an innovation project to design the ‘desktop of the future’ for display at the company’s internal trade show, DECworld, in Boston, which was visited by over 40,000 customers,” she recalls. “Ten concepts, including flat screens, keyboards, printers, and projectors, were designed and went on to win three awards from the Industrial Designers Society of America. The display was included at the European trade fair, DECville, in Cannes, France. This period in my career solidified my love of design, working with a great team, and travel.”

Purdue Influences

As a sophomore in the College of Technology, Professor Peter Miller noticed me sketching hairdryers, irons, and shampoo bottles for a still life class. He asked if I had ever heard of industrial design. I answered “no,” and he promptly sent me to the industrial design department. I never looked back! I took a course on the philosophy of religion with Professor Larry Axel, where my ability to question and value differences was cemented. Professor Tom David taught my senior industrial design studio and helped me believe in myself as a designer. He introduced me to the Porsche 911, which remains my favorite car to this day.

Purdue Memories

Football games at Ross-Ade, studying and hanging with friends at the Sweet Shop, concerts at the Elliott Hall of Music, and now, the Old Masters program! (Editor’s note: Reuther returned to campus as an Old Master in the fall of 2013.) 

Purdue Now

When I think of Purdue now, I think of the lifelong connections that Purdue embodies and my pride in representing this highly respected university as my life and career developed outside of Indiana and the Midwest. I also appreciate the access to so many brilliant minds and facilities, and the ongoing evolution of an institution that never stands still, accepts the status quo, or rests on its laurels. 

Greatest Achievement

Making a home and friendships wherever I’ve lived. 

Person I Admire

My husband, Dieter Reuther 

Idea of Perfect Happiness

Being in Greece, swimming in the Aegean Sea. 

What I’m Reading

The Next America: Boomers, Millennials, and the Looming Generational Showdown by Paul Taylor and Still Life with Bread Crumbs by Anna Quindlen 

Profession I’d Like to Try

Ballroom dancing