Search Login University of Kentucky




Curated Content  »  News

Former Interiors Chairman Dick Rankin passed away

October 2, 2013   |   School

Former Chairman of the Department of Human Environments: Design and Textiles (part of which forms the current School of Interiors) Dick Rankin passed away on September 25, 2013.
 
Professor Rankin had an extensive professional design consultation career beginning in 1954 with work as Art Director of Lake Central Airlines (later Allegheny Airlines).  In addition to serving as the first director of the School of Interiors at the University of Kentucky from 1973-1981, he continued a prolific private practice, including contract commissions for Lexington Civic Center Mall and Lexington Mall.  
 
Rankin was the first educational Trustee to serve as Chairman of the Board of the Foundation for Interior Design Educational Research (FIDER, now know as CIDA), the accrediting body for professional interior design education.  He was a charter member and President of the Interior Design Education Council (IDEC).  Through this work as an early leader in interior design education, he collaborated with many faculty members in a wide number of programs across the nation to establish standards for educating professional designers. 
 
Eileen Jones (Class of 1976) reflected on Prof. Rankin’s impact in the classroom:
 
"Dick Rankin taught me that design was more than just an "image".  He taught me that design was about communication, place-making, idea generation, and the beauty that comes from the collision of the pragmatic and the aesthetic.  He taught me to challenge my own thinking and that of others, to develop a rationale for design decision-making, and to look for precedents that support ideas.  He was an educator, a mentor, a champion of design and brought his passion for design to bear on everything he touched."
 
Faculty member Terry Rothgeb, hired by Rankin and later the second director of the School, remembers trips to early IDEC conferences in Louisiana and Minnesota – driving through the night to each destination with faculty member each taking a two-hour shift.  Other faculty remember him best for his demanding all-day Friday meetings.  Through these experiences, he established a solid foundation of the very thing many associate with the School of Interiors – the collegial outlook of its faculty, students, and alumni – a certain esprit de corps that has stood the School through time and many changes over the years.  
 
After leaving the University of Kentucky in 1981, Professor Rankin established the professional interior design program at North Dakota State University before retiring to Lexington in the early 1990s. 
 
A celebration of Dick's Life will by hosted by his family on campus at the Boone Faculty Center on Monday, October 7, 6:30-8:30 PM.