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A new campaign is underway to name a new building at the Massachusetts College of Art and Design after inspirational RSA Fellow Bill Hannon

Bill has number of significant achievements to his credit, not the least of which was the founding of the Boston Design Management Institute. Celebrating its 40th anniversary this year, DMI brings together “educators, researchers, designers, and leaders from every design discipline, every industry, and every corner of the planet to facilitate transformational organisational change and design driven innovation”

For many years, Bill was also the chair of the Design Department at the Massachusetts College of Art and Design – or MassArt, as it is more commonly referred to in Boston, its home. A few years ago, MassArt broke ground for a Design and Media Center destined to become the entranceway to the college. According to MassArt, the facility will serve as “a center for collaborative investigations between multiple disciplines” and “will act as an incubator of ideas and a venue for research not only within the MassArt community but throughout the larger cultural creative economy sector of Massachusetts.” It’s scheduled to open later this year.

As it happens, a small group of Bill’s former MassArt students, virtually all of whom have gone on to hugely successful careers in the design field, felt a deep debt of gratitude to Bill for “teaching them, prodding them, stimulating them and inspiring them,”

To quote one of Bill’s former students, Chris Coffin Amato, Creative Director at McCann Erikson in New York, Wouldn’t it be a fitting tribute to Bill, they said to one another, if the building were named in his honor? From here a William J. Hannon Recognition Committee was officially formed.

Of course that raised a logical question – what does it take to have a building in Boston named in someone’s honor? When the group sat down with leadership at MassArt to let them know what they had in mind, they were told the naming rights would fetch $1 million. They resolved to make it happen. One of them even pledged to provide a $50,000 grant to match $50,000 raised through other sources.

Charlie Conn, a former student of Bill’s and head of the Recognition Committee, was in London recently, and he stopped by the RSA. He thought there might be members of the RSA who’ve known or worked with Bill over the years, and who would be interested in contributing to the campaign to recognise another Fellow’s work.

If you want to find out more about helping to create a lasting legacy to Bill, you can email the Committee at or you can make a donation or pledge directly to the campaign at


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