<strong>LOGAN—</strong> Spontaneous. Quirky. Blunt. Creative. Honest. Persistent. Maverick. Mentor. Innovator. Devoted. Rebellious. Whirling dervish. Hurricane. A tornado of ideas.
That was Alan Hashimoto, the Utah State University graphic design professor who died in February at age 58 in his office. The response from the students and faculty has been intense and emotional.
“He affected so many people,” said Meagan Roach, one of Hashimoto’s students. “Campus literally stopped because of his passing in a moment of silence.”
As students, colleagues, friends and family—he left a wife and two young children—began processing Hashimoto’s death, it became clear how devoted students were to him on a level most professors and people in general never reach.
Almost immediately after his death, students began organizing events to meet and grieve together. The Facebook page “In Memory of Alan Hashimoto” was created for friends, students, colleagues and everyone affected by Hashimoto’s life, to share thoughts and memories.
“Alan had such devoted students because he was so devoted to them,” said Kate Auman, one of his video students. “He bent over backwards for us to offer things out of regular curriculum. He filled in the gaps to meet the passions and interests the students had.”
Once you connected with Hashimoto, said graphic design major Jesse Budd, it felt like you were part of the “Alan Club.”
“I think students reacted the way they did because Alan really opened up his whole life to his students,” said Jeremy Jensen, a graphic design graduate student who worked closely with Hashimoto. “He treated you as a student, but at the same time he was your friend. He was a guy you could sit down with and chat for hours. He put everyone on the same level. He didn’t talk to you different because you were a student.”
Hashimoto’s intensities and passions made him a complex man, however. His bursting energy and sometimes scattered thoughts could make him difficult to work with.
“Alan only had one speed, and that’s fast-forward,” USU President Stan Albrecht said at a memorial gathering in March.
Jensen said Hashimoto appeared scattered because he was involved with so much and was constantly “juggling so many things in his mind.”
“The guy had a billion ideas,” Jensen said. “His brain was just incredibly creative. He could throw a hundred ideas at you in the time you’d thought about one. His mind was just moving ’way faster than your average human. He came across as ADD or scattered, but really I think he was just brilliant.”
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