P. Lyn Middleton – MPD ’76

I applied to School of Design and became one of the first students in Visual Design graduate program in 1974.  I was nervous, me a graduate student ? However, I soon became so inspired. Tad Takano was a visiting professor from Chicago and was a valuable teacher my first year, and Vince Foote head of the program who badgered all of us with ” What is the design process? ” I had classes from George Bireline, Joe Cox, Dick Wilkinson, Bill Bayley and Carolyn Nelson. I was in heaven with all of it, many hours at the school night and day, great classes and projects.
I was surrounded with many other good design students such as Casey Herbert, Jim Wise, Eva Roberts, Jeff Hewins, John De Mao etc. And we all set in the context of not only Visual Design, but Architecture, Product Design, Landscape
Design and a big university.

I graduated and worked first for Ted Turner Broadcasting in Atlanta, Georgia, and then for Garrett/Lewis/Johnson, a graphic design studio. A little over 2 years later, I got a call from Vince Foote saying that a faculty member had quit at the last minute, just a few weeks before class started. “Would I be interested in taking a nine-month teaching post?” I think he was desperate. Without much deliberation, I said “Yes” and packed up.

This is when my real education began! Austin Lowrey became my guide and I was part of building the graphic design program curriculum and course content. I worked diligently, made mistakes and strived to be a worthwhile teacher. I was dedicated and was in big new territory. I tried to do a good job and today I still hope I did my students well. At that time there were only a few women faculty, I think 8 out of 50, such as Susan Toplikar, Linda Jewell and Martha Lange Scott to name a few. And some of you may remember my installation of wooden pink chairs that floated around the campus for several years. Long story short, I taught for 10 years, jumping through the hoops of title and tenure. In 1989, as associate professor, I left to teach at California Institute of the Arts. I would miss the School of Design, however, I knew I wanted to explore another new ground.

The School of Design is huge in my life, as a student and as a faculty member.

Long Live to its past, future and now! And thanks to Vince Foote for the telephone call long ago, you set me on my way!