Since starting as an instructor at the Penny W. Stamps School of Art & Design in 1988, Lecturer II and Stamps alumna Beth Hay (BFA ‘82) has been known for her commitment to students, her strides towards equity, and her ability to help people create their best work.
Hay has taught broadly across the Stamps curriculum, guiding generations of Stamps students through Typography, Methods of Inquiry, Graphic Design, Fibers, Studio: 2D, and other courses.
Her mentorship and instruction have played a critical role in the development of many Stamps designers and artists, many of whom are now themselves members of our faculty, including Susan Ackermann, Steven Hixson, Jocelyn Edin, Andrea Cardinal, Katie Rubin, and Sara Eskandari.
“Beth is known among our students as someone who personalizes her teaching to match the needs of each individual, supports students in recognizing and building on their strengths, and provides real-world application of concepts explored in the classroom, all done with humor, compassion, energy, and a commitment to high standards. Her presence in the classroom will be missed,” said Guna Nadarajan, Dean of the Stamps School.
In addition to her role at Stamps, Hay was the first graphic designer to be hired on as part of the regular staff at U-M Dearborn and, later, at the University of Michigan Museum of Art (UMMA). Prior to Hay’s staff appointments, both organizations relied on the local freelance community for support. “It involves a lot of educating when you’re the first regular on-staff position,” Hay said.
Hay has also served the school and her colleagues through advocacy. She was a Lecturers’ Employee Organization (LEO) activist and volunteer and helped organize the formation of the lecturer’s union before it was instituted at U-M. She continued to work as an activist member of LEO in both a volunteer and paid organizer capacity; she served as the elected secretary and campus co-chair.
“After some initial reluctance, Beth became an indispensable member of the core group of organizers,” said Kirsten Herold, Vice President of LEO. “A new union is built from the bottom up, with workers talking to each other, developing a sense of community, and Beth was a natural at that, both in the Art School and around campus. Much of our current cohesion as a group of colleagues stems from her hard work.”
“Through our collective work as a union, positive changes have greatly improved the teaching lives of lecturers and the education of their students at U-M,” Hay said. “I am particularly proud of being part of the important changes the union has fought for to strengthen the education of our students.”
In the immediate future, Hay looks forward to hearing from friends, family, co-workers, and students that they remain healthy and well through the course of the current pandemic. In the long term, Hay welcomes more spaciousness in her schedule and her creative endeavors. “May will find me outdoors, in the garden and starting in on the pillar of books that have been piling up for retirement.”