Alumni Support Future Generations of Creative Thinkers

William Hathaway (BFA Industrial Design 1966) and Elizabeth Hathaway (BA Applied Arts 1966)

For alumni and longtime CCA donors William and Elizabeth Hathaway, a desire to be part of the art and design worlds is what brought them to CCA, but their experiences on campus became the foundation of their 50+-year relationship that included a cross-country move, the raising of two children, and a green home construction project that took 13 years to complete.

Both Beth and Will entered CCA(C) as transfer students—Beth after a stint at community college and Will after some time in the army and at a liberal arts college. They began their coursework in the summer while living in the dormitory, where they met. “We had a lot of dinners together as part of a group [who lived] in the dorms”, recalls Beth.

Having previously studied English, Beth was drawn to poetry and watercolor painting—both outlets remain a part of her creative practice today. Will studied Industrial Design, praising instructor Jay Baldwin for pushing him to think about his work in new ways. “He made you question reality. It was wonderful to consider questions like, ‘what is it that you’re doing and why are you doing it?’”

Upon graduating, Will and Beth got married, and after a brief move to the East Coast, they found themselves back in the Pacific Northwest where Will first worked as an exhibition designer and teacher in Portland museums, and then went on to found the Multnomah Art Center. Beth also taught before becoming part of a team that assessed creative aptitude in young children.

Also during this time, Will and Beth embarked on their 13-year home construction project in Portland, hand built out of rebar and cement, that incorporated many green and sustainable practices well before those terms were trendy. Beginning as a 3D model crafted by Will, the Hathaways’ home is a reflection of their ingenuity and creative-problem solving abilities, skills they developed while at CCA.

“Art and design [education] teaches you that there isn’t a set answer,” Beth explains. “With that mindset, you can come up with really new and interesting solutions.”

The Hathaways credit CCA for reinforcing their intrinsic need for hands-on learning and exploration, which is why they’ve given back to CCA by contributing to student scholarships for more than 25 years. When asked why they’ve given consistently for so long, their answer is simple: “We love the place,” Beth explains. Will follows with: “And we want to ensure the same opportunity is available for others.”

Their support, in turn, ensures that CCA remains a place where students create objects, experiences, and ideas that never existed before. “I would be lost without the ability to build my ideas—that is something I learned how to do at CCA and want others to continue to learn.”