Carnegie Mellon School of Design Alumni Event

On Thursday, June 22 Isobar Boston hosted more than 40 alumni from Carnegie Mellon’s School of Design at a reception and celebration of Professor Dan Boyarski’s retirement. Four of us here at Isobar Boston are graduates from the Design School and each of us have been influenced and inspired by Dan.

  • Amanda Schuler, BFA Communication Design 1997
  • Christa Houlahan, MDes Communication Planning & Design 1999
  • Louisa Butler, MDes Communication Planning & Information Design 2012
  • Allison Lenz, BFA Communication Design 2012

Dan has been a professor of design at Carnegie Mellon for 35 years, teaching courses in typography, information and interaction design, and time-based communication at the graduate and undergraduate levels. He is also the director of Alumni Relations for the school.

Boston marked the fourth of five cities in the US for Dan’s “Farewell Tour”. Previously he connected with alumni in the San Francisco/Bay Area, Pittsburgh, and New York (which ended up having to be by Skype due to weather-related travel issues). The last stop on the tour will be Seattle later this summer.

At the gathering Dan shared what he’s been doing recently and his plans for retirement.

For the past few years Dan has continued teaching but easing into retirement. Carnegie Mellon offers an option for retiring professors to teach half their course load for half pay. Dan took advantage of that and taught all his classes at the School of Design in the fall and used the spring to teach at other universities around the world including in Costa Rica, Portugal, and Poland.

During that time he also began archiving student work from his Time, Motion and Communication class which he started teaching in 1994. In the class, students use kinetic typography and motion graphics to explore how type, image, sound and movement may be combined for effective communication. Much of the early work was done in software that is no longer supported so requires some effort to convert to viewable platforms. In his retirement he will continue his effort to archive the work where it will live on at

After he spoke, the group toasted Dan and shared thoughts and stories about the impact Dan had on their lives. Whether it was his focused attention during portfolio reviews for potential students that swayed them to choose Carnegie Mellon, his ability to encourage and be a sounding board for students who were unsure about their future, or how his teaching lives on in the every-day work of alumni, Dan has been an inspiration and mentor to us all.

We wish him all the best as he begins this next step.