Arts & Humanities

Hashimoto Communication Arts Seminar: A Legacy of Design Excellence

By Emma Lee |

Utah State University has proudly hosted the Hashimoto Communication Design Seminar for over 50 years. The seminar series brings together local and regional design professionals to engage with students. Each week, design professionals come to USU to lecture and interact with students and review senior portfolios.

The Hashimoto Seminar Series, named after the late professor Alan “Jay” Hashimoto, is the longest running design lecture series in the state, preceding the creation of the Utah chapter of the American Institute of Graphic Arts.

It was originally conceptualized by eager design students who wanted to gain professional insights and established on campus by former professor Jon Anderson. The lecture series is now a very important part of the Department of Art + Design program and has been organized by Associate Professor David Smellie for the last 10 years.

“The students really wanted to learn from professional illustrators and advertising people,” Smellie said. “They literally took money out of their wallets to pool together money to bring in these big-time illustrators.”

Jon Anderson then reached out to the professionals and arranged for them to lecture at USU. When the professional designers heard of the dedication and eagerness of the students, they lowered their prices.

“Jon told me that he would call a lot of these people and they normally would charge a lot of money,” Smellie said, “but when they would hear that the students were paying for out of their own (pocket), they would do it for really cheap.”

Since then, the seminar has hosted a diverse range of professionals, including CEOs, creative directors, art directors and designers from various disciplines such as advertising, editorial design, product design and more. Each semester, five to seven professionals come to USU, giving students a broad range of perspectives and experiences to learn from.

“We mostly bring in regional designers in the Rocky Mountain area, but we also try to bring in people from outside the region when we can get extra money,” Smellie said. “When we get really big, internationally recognized designers, they typically do a workshop with the students.”

The seminar helps bridge the gap between academia and industry in an accessible way.

“USU is just far enough away from Salt Lake City that it is hard to get all of our students down to lectures the AIGA puts on,” Smellie said. “This way, we can bring those people to us because we are more remote.”

While the seminar series is a class that students can register for, each lecture is also open to the public so anyone interested in design within the community can engage with professionals.

For more information about the seminar series and upcoming events, please visit the Art + Design website.


Emma Lee
Communications Specialist
Caine College of the Arts
(909) 670-3273


David Smellie
Associate Professor
Department of Art + Design


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