Thursday, November 13, 2008

A Life That Mattered

During challenging times the loss of creative decision-makers is especially troubling. That is why I was saddened to learn of the loss of Claude McKinney, former dean of the NCSU School of Design, champion of the Centennial Campus, and a guiding light for the Research Triangle Park. He died last week.

In the late 1980s I interviewed McKinney in his office at the School of Design. Fashionably attired, he sat behind a spotless desk on which, at the front edge, rested an 18-inch reed, a large marble, a small pyramid, and three seashells.

When I asked about the assortment of items he said, “When I’m confused about how to approach a problem I arrange these things in what I believe is a three-dimensional representation of the problem. It helps me think it through.”

Creativity is not rare, it simply hides. Claude McKinney spent his life coaxing creativity out of himself and helping others find it in themselves.

Truly, a life that mattered.

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