April 21, 2020 Editor in Chief of Interior Design Magazine to Speak at 2020 Commencement

headshot of Cindy Allen

We are thrilled to announce that Cindy Allen, editor in chief of Interior Design magazine, is the 2020 commencement speaker. The commencement ceremony for the College of Architecture and Design will begin at 9 a.m. EST on May 7, 2020. This year, due to restrictions from coronavirus, all UT Knoxville commencement ceremonies will be conducted virtually. Watch commencement at

Cindy Allen is widely lauded as one of the most influential advocates for the interior design profession. With almost two decades as editor in chief of Interior Design, she champions the industry, promoting both the giants of design and its rising stars.

Allen has published ten books on design, with the latest edition covering a decade of the industry’s best. An early adopter of alternate platforms to share Interior Design’s content, she has also made more than 90 short documentaries on industry icons including Kengo Kuma, David Rockwell, India Mahdavi, Isay Weinfeld and Paola Navone and regularly interviews industry leaders live on DesignTV by SANDOW.

A self-proclaimed design junkie, Allen brings an unbridled passion for design that is manifested through 18 print issues each year, a digital platform reaching a global audience of over 9 million, and a robust events platform.

Allen received an Honorary Doctorate from the New York School of Interior Design in 2010 and from the San Francisco Academy of Art in 2012. She is a recipient of the 2009 Alpha Award by Alpha Workshops, the 2010 Circle of Excellence Award from IFDA, the 2014 Open House New York Honoree Award, the 2015 Beverly Willis Architecture Foundation’s Scroll Award, the 2019 AIA Stephen A. Kliment Oculus Award and honored 2020 LongHouse Winter Benefit.

Allen has served as juror for the Cooper-Hewitt National Design Awards and the Gensler Design Excellence Awards, among others, and is a board member for the Alpha Workshops. She is chairman of the national board of DIFFA (Design Industries Foundation Fighting Aids), where she is committed to helping those in need and galvanizing the design community to push the boundaries of what is possible.

Allen’s commencement speech will be recorded in her studio in New York and join other recorded remarks, including those from the college’s student speakers, Chancellor Donde Plowman, Dean Scott Poole and others. During the virtual ceremony, Chancellor Plowman will conduct a live conferral. Learn more about our commencement activities.