Notable DAAP Alumni

The School of Design, Architecture, Art, and Planning is proud to share an ever evolving list of notable alumni. We encourage you to take note of their accomplishments, many of which you may already be familiar with, but never knew they were graduates of DAAP.  

Michael Bierut '80 is vice president of design at Vignelli Associates, a partner at Pentagram and a member of the Art Directors Club Hall of Fame. He also has participated in the feature film “Helvetica,” earned the American Institute of Graphic Arts Medal (the profession’s highest honor), regularly contributed to the Public Radio International program “Studio 360” and had his works included in the permanent collections of a number of museums, including the Museum of Modern Art and the Cooper-Hewitt National Design Museum.

Bruce Blackburn '61 conceived the symbol and identity program for the American Revolution Bicentennial Commission in 1976. He also designed the 1975 NASA logo (known as the "worm" and used for 17 years), Sigma Phi Epsilon's red heart logo, and an Absolut vodka logo.

Mark Boudreaux '78 is senior principal designer of Boy's Toys at Kenner/Hasbro. He worked on toys for all six "Star Wars" films, did the preliminary design development on Kenner's original Millennium Falcon toy in the '70s, has been the designer of Galactic Heroes and worked with LucasFilm Ltd. on its new animated "Star Wars" TV series.

He also has his face on a Star Wars action figure — the Rebel Trooper, the Rebel Blockade Runner Trooper and an exclusive AT-ST driver. The company allowed portraits of members of the team to be used on background characters, he says. Mark Boudreaux story in UC Magazine.

Tim Brown '05 is the founder of Allbirds, a direct-to-consumer shoe company that makes sneakers from sustainable materials. He studied design and graduated Cum Laude while also playing soccer for the Bearcats. After graduation he played soccer professionally before developing his shoe concept after considerable research and development. Allbirds launched in 2014 and went public as an IPO in 2021. (See feature articles, "Allbirds CEO credits UC with success", UC News April 17, 2019 and "Better shoes in a better way", UC Magazine, September 27, 2016.)

Tim Conroy '86 is the owner of Sculpco, a Cincinnati firm that designs action figures for movies, comic books, TV shows, wrestling and video games, including Star Wars, Batman, Spiderman, Pirates of the Carribbean, SpongeBob SquarePants, Power Puff Girls, and Dragon Ball Z, to name a few. Read more about Tim Conroy in UC Magazine, "Where do toy designers get their ideas?" (December 15, 2010)

Stan Herman '50 has been a pioneer in the "designer uniform" with clients such as FedEx, McDonalds, Amtrak, Avis, TWA, United Airlines and Jet Blue. For more than 10 years, he has been designing upscale clothes for QVC and is especially known for his chenille robes. Early in his career, he won the Coty Fashion Critics Award three times for the creation of Mr Mort, a phenomenon of ready to wear in the 60's and early 70's. In 1996, he become president of the Council of Fashion Designers of America, which later gave him a Lifetime Achievement Award. In 2006, he won the Geoffrey Been Lifetime Achievement Award at the Council FDA Awards. He has also been pioneer in designer activism, being the first to commercialize faux fur and use his first showing of that line to raise funds for the Central Park Zoo.
(See feature article, "Stylish and comfortable," UC Magazine, October 2000.)

In 1991, Mike Hoeting '89 co-founded Bang Zoom Design with classmate Sean Mullaney (also a notable DAAP Alum). Hoeting is now president of an eight-person toy-invention and design firm in Walnut Hills. Among the more than 100 inventions the company has licensed are the Barbie Puppy Swim School, Tyco's Tantrum radio-controlled car, Playskool's Roll 'n' Rattle ball, Fisher-Price's Big Bubble Machine and Nickelodeon's Rugrats. In 2004, Bang Zoom's Hokey Pokey Elmo won the industry's Toy of the Year award. Hoeting says his favorite toy design was the RC Xtreme Cycle, which was made by Tyco and owned by Mattel. (See feature article, "We make the elves who make the toys" UC Magazine.) 

David Laughridge '62 was a key player on the design team that invented the Nerf ball in 1969. He also named the product, marketed as the "world's first official indoor ball," based upon the name of a foam used in dragster racing at the time. That was when he was director of research and new product development at Parker Brothers, but he later pursued a career with Lionel trains and is now the owner of Dr. Tinker's Antique Toy Trains Parts and Service in Lexington, Mass., where he fixes Lionel trains and stocks hundreds of parts for model train enthusiast.

Sam Lucente '81, Hewlett-Packard's first and current VP of design, previously produced IBM's Thinkpad 560 and 710, Leapfrog and Netscape's Constellation platform; his work is part of permanent collections at the New York Museum of Modern Art and the Smithsonian National Design Museum.

John Lutz '95 worked on the team that created the FedEx logo while a cooperative-education student at UC.

Robert Mahl '85 invented the Pocket Huggie and holds the utility patent for it. The eco-friendly, reusable beverage Insulator eliminates the need for napkins or coasters with wet beverages and keeps beverages hot or cold longer. A Huggie accommodates cans, water bottles and cups in a stylish manner. The product made a splashy debut when it appeared in George Clooney’s 2011 movie “The Ides of March.” Mahl owns the Cincinnati firm DesignMahl.

Jim Mariol (attended DAAP for 3 years until he was drafted in the Army for the Korean War) designed the nation's best-selling car, the Cozy Coupe toy car, in '79 for Little Tikes. The bright red and yellow foot-powered kid car became one of the most popular toys in history, with more than 10 million in the market. In June 2009, to commemorate the 30th anniversary of the car, the first Cozy Coupe off of the line from 1979 was accompanied by a special 30th anniversary edition and inducted into the Crawford Auto-Aviation Museum in Cleveland. (See feature article, "UC alum creates best-selling toy -- Cozy Coupe car" UC Magazine)

Daniel Meyer '04 was a brand manager with Jakks Pacific, a major toy and leisure-product company in Ft. Lauderdale, Fla, when he designed the action figures and play set related to the movie "The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian" in '08. In doing so, he placed a likeness of his own face on the Telmarine soldier action figure.

In 2009, he became the director of marketing and design at the newly founded The Bridge Direct in the Miami/Fort Lauderdale area. By Christmas 2012, the company had released a line of Hobbit toys to coincide with Peter Jackson's new movie and was on its way to becoming one of the top toy companies. The Bridge Direct has also produced licensed toys for Frankenweenie, Looney Tunes, Aurthur Christmas, Justin Bieber, the Power Rangers and Jackie Evancho.

Sean Mullaney '89 co-founded Bang Zoom Design in 1991 with DAAP grad Mike Hoeting (see above). Mullaney left the company in 2002 and opened Toy Lab, a store where children could invent toys from recycled toy parts. In 2009, he founded Quiggie Design, a toy, game and idea invention company. Mullaney holds more than 16 patents and has licensed more than 60 toys, games and products to Mattel, Hasbro, Milton Bradley and others. (See feature article, "Where do toy designers get their ideas?" UC Magazine)

John "Jack" Schmid '61 earned a BS in Industrial Design. He spent the first five years after graduation working with the Department of Commerce/US Information Agency (USIA), where he designed large international exhibition pavilions and the exhibits within, which were visited by heads of state in countries across the world. Jack founded his own design consulting firm where he continued to work on international exhibitions and museums before returning to USIA and NASA until the end of his career. Jack received numerous awards, among them the Presidential Design Award, NASA Exceptional Performance Award, and the Westinghouse Design Excellence Award. Reviews of a number of his products were published in professional design literature.

Jim Swearingen '72 served as lead designer for Kenner's original "Star Wars" line when the movie debuted in 1977. Swearingen also contributed to many popular product lines, including PlayDoh, Spirograph, Baby Alive, Care Bears and Strawberry Shortcake. After Hasbro bought Kenner in 1992, Swearingen-and coworkers Tom Osborne, DAAP '75, and Tim Effler, DAAP '74 started their own company, which often specialized in licensed products from movies such as "Alien," "Jurassic Park," "Men in Black" and "Pirates of the Caribbean II: Dead Man's Chest." Their Ultimate Black Pearl Pirate Ship play-set design landed a 2007 Toy of the Year Award, equivalent to the toy industry's Oscars. (See feature story, "DAAP alum designed original "Star Wars" toys", UC Magazine, June 2007)

Carrie Parker Beidleman '94 is a senior interior designer at KZF Design Inc. in Cincinnati. who recently designed the interior of UC's newest dorm, Jefferson Residence Hall. 

Richard "Dick" Blinder '59 was a champion of historic preservation and a founding partner of Beyer Blinder Belle Architects & Planners, LLP. He was best known for his cultural and performing arts projects, including the renovation of New York City's Grand Central Station, Ellis Island,  Ford Center for the Performing Arts on Broadway (which he created by merging two historic theaters into one), Rubin Museum of Art, Japan Society, and Hilton Theatre. The firm was also involved in the initial phase of the redesign of the World Trade Center site. (See "DAAP architect salvages historic theater," UC Magazine, January 1999).

Darrell Daniel '58 was one of the architects to design Kings Island, which opened 1972. He also led redesign work on Coney Island’s rides and shows in the 1960s, including the Log Flume.

Todd DeGarmo '80 has been the CEO of Studios Architecture in New York City since 2005. He has guided the practice to be defined by projects that choreograph a unique human experience, all while resolving pragmatic needs that advance our clients missions and goals. The focus is on transparency, materiality and integration of technology, with creative alternatives that establish new precedents and paradigms in master planning, new and renovated buildings, and interiors.    

Mike Gasaway '93 designed the animation on "Jak and Daxter," PlayStation II. He was also the lead character animator for the movie, "Jimmy Neutron: Boy Genius,” which was an Academy Award nominee for Best Animated Film in 2001.

Michael Graves '58 is internationally renowned for his postmodern architectural works, including UC's Engineering Research Center, Cincinnati's Riverbend Music Center and the Swan and Dolphin Resort at Walt Disney World. A professor of architecture at Princeton University and president of the architectural firm that bears his name, Graves was honored by President Clinton in 1999 with a National Medal of Arts and in 2001 received the American Institute of Architects' highest honor, the gold medal. He also designs aesthetically pleasing household objects, many of them designed especially for Target department stores.

An '09 inductee into the Interior Design Hall of FameNick Luzietti '71 is a design principal of VOA Associates in Chicago. Specializing in architecture, interior design and "ReUse + Preservation," Luzietti has dealt in commercial applications across the globe, including education, government, health care and hospitality. His work has been recognized by prestigious design competitions including American Institute of Architects, International Interior Design Association and American Society of Interior Design. According to Interior Design magazine, "What sets Luzietti apart from the rest is his listening skills; he talks to his clients at length and designs with their interests and passions in mind, testing the bounds of his creativity within the parameters of his clients’ visions."

The magazine also points out, "He is loved and revered both for his outrageous earthly behavior and passionate off-screen crusade as comical ambassador for all living things, including designers." A good example of that outrageous behavior came at his Hall of Fame induction, when he donned sunglasses and a Sergeant Pepper jacket then launched into an impromptu one-man variety show "that had us laughing out loud – almost to the point of tears," said Danielle De Vita, editorial director of Design-Calendar.

John Hejduk ’52 was Dean of the Irwin S. Chanin School of Architecture at the Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art from 1975 to 2000. Though his work consisted largely of theoretical projects that combined poetic, and highly personal narratives, Hejduk was one of the most influential pedagogues of the second half of the 20th century. His early teaching in Interior Design at the University of Texas at Austin is often cited as the introduction of the ubiquitous nine square grid problem. But he also taught his students that architectural forms were not purely abstract shapes or expressions of structure and function but a a means of exploring relationships between public and private space. In his work walls, windows and architectural details were invested with emotional content. Hejduk published over 21 books during his lifetime and the archive of his drawings is held by the Canadian Center for Architecture.

Ron Kull '68 is a former university architect at UC and architect for the city of Cincinnati. (See featured article, "University’s Architect Has Built Both a Campus and a Career Here", UC News, August 2006) 

Eva Maddox '66 is an award-winning interior designer and principal of Perkins + Will Associates, Chicago. She is the founder of Eva Maddox Branded Environments. In collaboration with Bernard Tschumi Architects & Glaserworks, her firm designed UC's Richard Lindner Center and the George and Helen Smith Athletics Museum inside. That work received an American Institute of Architects' special recognition award for ;interior architecture in 2008. Maddox is also a co-founder and program director of Archeworks, an alternative design school in Chicago. In place of a traditional curriculum, students work in multidisciplinary teams with nonprofit partners to create design solutions for social and environmental concerns.

She has received more than 100 awards for design excellence, including the 2000 Star Award from the International Interior Design Association, the Women Who Make a Difference Award from the International Women's Forum and induction into the Interior Design Hall of Fame. Fast Company magazine called her one of the "change agents…designers and dreamers who are creating your future." In 2011, Contract magazine presented her with the Legend Award for having “contributed in a significant way to raising the standards of commercial interior design and architecture” and for developing a "personal brand that is one of the most highly respected throughout the architecture and design community."

Kevin Roche '75 is an internationally known interior designer who leads global consultancies related to merchandising and strategic planning. Currently, he is the principal of Roche Design Strategy; coordinating work at Le Bon Marche, a Moët-Hennessy Louis Vuitton company in Paris, and serving on the advisory board of Michelgroup, Zurich, Switzerland, where he was formerly the executive director.

Other previous positions include CEO of Fitch Worldwide, president and CEO of FRCH Design Worldwide, and senior vice president of DFS Group/LVMH, a luxury retailer in six global regions. His work with international brands has included Mercedes-Benz, Calvin Klein, Marriott International, Sony Loews Entertainment, BP International, Viacom, Samsung, Starbucks, Harley-Davidson, Nike, Timberland, Limited Brand's Victoria Secret, Discovery Channel Retail and Macy’s.

Mitchell Sutika Sipus '10, '11 is using two degrees from the College of Design, Architecture, Art, and Planning to help end poverty, eradicate violence and educate leaders on a global level. When his 2004 experiences among Tibetan refugees during a three-month hitchhiking journey in the Himalayas moved him to help combat poverty, he came to UC to get two degrees — one in community planning (wth an international-development track focused on economics, urban design and social-science research methods) and one in architecture (research focused on anthropology, philosophy and historic preservation). While a student, he advocated for youth as a United Nations delegate, worked in a Kenya/Somalia refugee camp, then worked with engineers in the Dadaab refugee camps to construct safe spaces for children. In Cairo, he continued his research on the urban planning of refugee camps. In 2012, he was on the faculty at the American University of Afghanistan, a new university dedicated to training future leaders. (See featured article, "UC alumnus uses DAAP degrees to help end poverty, eradicate violence, educate leaders on a global level," UC Magazine, April 2012)

Erik Sueberkrop '72 is a chairman and founding principal of the architectural firm Studios Architecture and was design principal for UC’s new Center for Academic and Research Excellence (CARE)/Crawley Building on the Academic Health Center campus. In 2002, he won the Chicago Athenaeum American Architecture Award for the building design. Studios Architecture has offices in San Francisco, Los Angeles, New York, Paris and Washington, D.C. The firm has designed headquarters for MTV, E*Trade, Turner Broadcasting Systems Europe, Silcon Graphics (later sold to Google), Bloomberg News and other high tech clients.

David Bennet '98 is the Chief Technology Officer at Mimic Productions which he co-founded. With over 20 years experience in visual effects, performance capture, 3D gaming, and virtual reality industries, David is credited for his work in Avatar, Rise of the Planet of the Apes, The Adventures of Tintin, Beowolf, Monster House, and The Polar Express.

Evan Carroll '97 designed creatures for three versions of Diablo II for Blizzard Entertainment. After its debut as the No. 1 selling PC game in January 1997, the original Diablo sold more than two million copies within the next two years. Diablo II was released in 2000 and made the Guinness Book of World Records for being the fastest selling computer game ever sold, with more than one million units sold in the first two weeks of availability. The Wraith is one of the creatures Carroll designed for Diablo II. Today, Carroll is a film director, screenwriter and animator. He co-directed and co-animated the film "Legends from Camp," which was named Best Animated Short at the RiverRun International Film Festival in 2004. (See "Monster man: Alumnus creates characters of computer game sequel," UC Magazine, July 1999.)

Amanda Dalla Villa Adams '11 is an independent curator, writer, educator, and historian who specializes in post-1945 global contemporary art. Her research has been presented internationally, including the Rothermere Institute of Oxford University and McGill University. She has also chaired panels at the annual Mid-America College Art Association and Southeastern College Art conferences.

Lisa M.W. Eldred '98, Director of Exhibitions & Learning Engagement; Head Curator of Art, Denver Botanic Gardens

Jez Flores García, PhD '03 studies contemporary art and wrote her dissertation on the role of various types of camp, via queer culture, rasquache, and glam rock, in the eclectic artistic production of Asco, an East Los Angelos art collective. She served as curator for contemporary art at the Cincinnati Art Museum and assistant to the creative director for the 11th Venice Biennale of Architecture. 

Betty Hensellek '11 graduated from DAAP with a double major in Art History and Fine Art. She went on to earn her PhD at Cornell in 2020. Greater Iran, Central Asia, and the Steppe, specializing in the first millennium CE, is her focus as an art historian and archeologist. Her research investigated cosmopolitanism across Central Eurasia, addressing how and why material culture enabled transcultural systems of communication, producing a dissertation titled “The Age of the Polychrome Kaftan: a Sartorial System of Central Eurasia (400-900 CE).” 

Jen Horvath '15, Director of Development, Taft Museum of Art 

Eumie Imm-Stroukoff, Emily Fisher Landau Director of the Research Center, Georgia O'Keeffe Museum

Sol Kjøk '96 founded the art collective Mothership NYC, a Brooklyn arts collective. Her work has been featured in over 100 shows worldwide, including the Cincinnati Art Museum, the Nordic Museum of Drawing, and the Osten Museum of Drawing. 

Lindsay Neal '12, Curator of Collections, The Hermitage Museum & Gardens

David Opdyke '92 is an artist and sculptor who often works with wood and a hammer. He has exhibited internationally and has received media coverage from the New York Times, Vanity Fair and the Washington Post.

Abby S. Schwartz '93 is the director of the Skirball Museum located on the campus of Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion since 2013. She is the former curator of education at the Taft Museum of Art, and a former Taft Museum of Art docent. Abby is the recipient of several awards including the 2000 Museum Educator of the Year award from the Ohio Art Education Association, the Wyoming Citizen of the Year in 2001, and the recipient of the 2003 National Art Education Association’s Museum Educator Award for the Western Region.

Sheida Soleimani '12 makes work that combines photography with sculpture, collage, and film. She is specifically interested in the intersections of art and activism, as well as how social media has shaped the landscape in current political affairs and uprisings.

Jaime Thompson '06 is the current Director of Education and Public Programs for the Oklahoma Contemporary. Previous to this position, she was the Learning and Programs Director for the Contemporary Arts Center in Cincinnati.

Shane Wolf '00 and his paintings are receiving international attention. The design major was honored with the prestigious Prix Taylor (Taylor Prize) at the Paris’ Grand Palais in 2011 for his painting “Soumission.”

Wolf, originally from Reading, Ohio, received the prize from among 2,500 artists showing in “Art en Capital” at the Grand Palais. Because of this win – by a rare unanimous vote among the judges – he was invited to subsequently show another painting at the Carrousel du Louvre in Paris, for the 150th anniversary of the National Society of Beaux-Arts. From among 700 works, Wolf's oil-on-canvas painting, "Impetus," was honored with a bronze medal. (See featured article, "UC Alum Wins Prestigious International Art Awards in Paris", UC Magazine, January 2012)

Elizabeth Blume '89 is the Director of the Community Building Institute at Xavier University.  Liz’s work with the CBI has changed the way the Cincinnati region handles community development.  She is the co-director of the Master's program in Urban Sustainability and Resilience at Xavier University.  She has been active in the planning field for over 30 years including serving as the Director of Planning for the City of Cincinnati.  Liz is a frequent speaker on a wide range of topics related to housing and community development.  

Robin Corathers '84 is the founding executive director at Groundwork Cincinnati/Mill Creek where she worked for almost 30 years.  At Groundwork she “launched a comprehensive, inter-generational, community-based strategy for revitalizing the river and the Mill Creek neighborhoods and communities that share its watershed.” She also edited and published the book The Mill Creek: An Unnatural History of an Urban Stream and worked on environmental education and training efforts. She had previously worked as the executive director for the Hillside Trust.  Robin has “twenty-eight years of experience in environmental administration and planning, with concentrations in the areas of environmental policy planning, natural resource conservation, ecological restoration, urban rivers and watersheds, eco-friendly stormwater management, brownfields, greenways and trails, sustainability principles and practices, green design, pollution prevention, and environmental education.” 

Patrick Duhaney '09 has been the City Manager for Virginia Beach since 2020 and previously was the City Manager, Assistant City Manager and Chief Procurement Officer for the City of Cincinnati.  He oversees the activities and operations of a city with a permanent population of 300,000, 6,000 employees, and $1.3 billion operating and capital improvements budget.” 

Daniel Iacofano (PhD, FAICP, FASLA) '76 is the CEO and President of MIG, Inc. and a lecturer at the University of California – Berkely.  He is “is internationally recognized as an innovator and thought leader in urban planning and design, strategic planning, organizational development, facilitation, and consensus building.”  Daniel has worked with hundreds of organizations and communities throughout the world.  

Katherine Keough-Jurs (AICP) '97 is the Director of the Department of City Planning and Engagement at the City of Cincinnati.  She has worked with the City of Cincinnati for over 20 years in a variety of planning roles.  Katherine also serves as an adjunct professor the School of Planning.  She has over 20 years of planning experience with an emphasis in “team leadership, long-range and strategic planning, neighborhood development, project management, meeting facilitation, negotiation and consensus building, community engagement, land use analysis, demographic analysis, and GIS mapping and analysis”. 

Todd Kinskey (FAICP) '93 is the Director of Planning, Neighborhoods & Development for the City of Dayton since 2018.  Todd previously was at Hamilton County, Ohio in a wide variety of roles including planning director, and served on numerous boards.  He has almost 30 years of planning experience with emphasis in long range planning, community development, site ‎plan review, land use planning, and zoning ‎analysis.  

Carl Patton '67 was the president of Georgia State University from 1992 through 2008.  He is credited with having reshaping that university, having “helped Georgia State become a vital part of the downtown Atlanta community. Patton’s focus on recruitment of world-class faculty, strengthened academic programs, improved campus infrastructure and increased recognition for Georgia State through national rankings, peer journals and media reports.”  Carl has been recognized for his service on numerous boards and organizations, and is credited with contributing to strengthening and enhancing downtown Atlanta.  

P Craig Russell '74 is an award-winning graphic novelist who began with Marvel Comics, then became famous for comic adaptations of operas, plays and fairy tales. Russell first began drawing for Marvel Comics while still attending UC. ("I would work on stories, get graded, then mail them to Marvel and get paid. It was a terrific way to do my senior year.") He inked more than 300 pages of "Star Wars" comics for Dark Horse while adapting "Wagner's Ring" into a 14-book series. He has won several Eisners, the Oscars of the comic world, and received the Harvey Award for Best Artist in 1997. (See feature article, "How to take opera from stage to page (and make comics out of classics)," UC Magazine, May 2002.)

Mitchell Sutika Sipus '10, '11 is using two degrees from the College of Design, Architecture, Art, and Planning to help end poverty, eradicate violence and educate leaders on a global level. When his 2004 experiences among Tibetan refugees during a three-month hitchhiking journey in the Himalayas moved him to help combat poverty, he came to UC to get two degrees — one in community planning (wth an international-development track focused on economics, urban design and social-science research methods) and one in architecture (research focused on anthropology, philosophy and historic preservation). While a student, he advocated for youth as a United Nations delegate, worked in a Kenya/Somalia refugee camp, then worked with engineers in the Dadaab refugee camps to construct safe spaces for children. In Cairo, he continued his research on the urban planning of refugee camps. In 2012, he was on the faculty at the American University of Afghanistan, a new university dedicated to training future leaders. (See featured article, "UC alumnus uses DAAP degrees to help end poverty, eradicate violence, educate leaders on a global level," UC Magazine, April 2012)

Frederick (Fritz) Steiner (FASLA, FAAR, RAAR, SITES AP) '75 is the Dean of the University of Pennsylvania School of Design and co-executive director of the McHarg Center.  He previously served as the dean of the School of Architecture at the University of Texas Austin.  Fritz is an internationally-recognized expert in ecological planning, historic preservation, environmental design, green building, and regional planning, and has authored and co-authored numerous books.