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John Stephenson: 1929 - 2015

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John Stephenson, Catherine B. Heller Professor Emeritus of Art and former acting dean of the School, passed away on October 202015

John was an active member of the Stamps faculty for over 35 years (1959 — 1994), teaching ceramics at all levels as well as foundation courses in two- and three-dimension design. He was a pioneer in developing the School’s commitment to international engagement, and he was instrumental in forging connections between Japan, China, Korea, and the US. John was an engaged and highly supportive teacher and mentor, influential in helping countless students development as artists/​designers as well as global citizens.

A distinguished artist, John’s creative work and research have been described as going beyond the boundaries of classical tradition and opening up a contemporary approach to American ceramics. His award-winning work is included in many prestigious public and private collections around the globe, and he was the recipient of numerous grants to support his creative practice, including an NEA Artist Grant. A highly-engaged member of the academy and frequent lecturer and guest instructor, he was an honored Fellow of the American Craft Council, an honorary member of the National Council on Education for the Ceramic Arts, and a member of the International Academy of Ceramics. Locally, he served as a board member at Pewabic Pottery for over 10 years.

A celebration of life will be held at the University of Michigan League Ballroom on December 5th at 11AM

In lieu of flowers the family is requesting donations in John Stephenson’s memory to the Michigan Parkinson Foundation, 30400 Telegraph Road, Suite 150, Bingham Farms, MI 48025 and the Penny Stamps School of Art and Design, University of Michigan, 2055 Art and Architecture Building, 2000 Bonisteel Boulevard, Ann Arbor, Michigan 48109 – 2069, where a fund will be established in John’s name. 

John Stephenson Obituary | MLive