Office of the Vice President for Global Communications

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Design professor Shaun Jackson dies after plane crash in Florida

Shaun Jackson, a professor of art and design who has received international acclaim for his work, died Tuesday from injuries sustained in a Florida plane crash.

  Shaun Jackson

Jackson, 63, of Ann Arbor, was a passenger in a single-engine airplane that crashed while taking off Saturday from an airport near Sarasota, Fla. The pilot was killed in the crash. Jackson was airlifted to a hospital in Tampa for treatment of extensive burns.

In a message to the faculty and staff of the Penny W. Stamps School of Art & Design, Dean Gunalan Nadarajan said he was "deeply saddened to share the news that our friend Shaun Jackson has passed away."

Nadarajan said that for more than two decades, Jackson had been a "dedicated and beloved member of our community, mentoring generations of designers and sharing his optimism and love of life with all of us.

"He was the model of the interdisciplinary design educator, teaching across units and holding faculty appointments in art and design, architecture, and business. The entire university has lost a true friend and citizen."

Monica Ponce de Leon, dean of the Taubman College of Architecture and Urban Planning, said Jackson created an extraordinary legacy and his work will provide inspiration for years to come.

“His passion as an educator and his unwavering commitment to the power of design will remain with us. He was a beautiful person whose mission was to make the world a more beautiful place,” she said. “We are indebted to his generosity of spirit."

In addition to his appointments at U-M, Jackson was an inventor, designer and entrepreneur. He founded his first company, Eclipse Inc., while still an undergraduate student at U-M, where he studied architecture.

As president and design director at Eclipse, he guided the company's growth from a small venture to a multimillion-dollar corporation with a global distribution network. Because of Jackson's commitment to design-driven excellence, Eclipse was selected as a case study for a National Endowment for the Arts research project titled "The Competitive Edge: The Role of Design in American Business."

Jackson's current firm, Shaun Jackson Design Inc., serves clients including Apple, Dell, Toshiba, General Electric Medical Systems, Herman Miller, Nike, L.L. Bean, Eddie Bauer, Harley Davidson and Patagonia.

A respected member of North America's industrial design community, Jackson holds more than 50 patents and has received national and international honors.

Jackson is survived by his wife, Catherine Banish-Jackson, sons Taylor and Ryan, and stepdaughters Sydney and Rachel Tuchman. Memorial arrangements are pending.