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Design professor Robert Sedlack dies at 47

| Sunday, May 31, 2015

Visual communication design professor Robert Sedlack, who saw graphic design as a force for social good, died in his sleep at his South Bend home Saturday, the University said in a news release. He was 47.

Sedlack taught the course “Design for Social Good” and won the College of Arts and Letters’ Sheedy Excellence in Teaching Award and the Center for Social Concerns’ Gancy Faculty Community-Based Research Award this year. Students in his classes partnered with community organizations like the Center for the Homeless and the Juvenile Justice Center and foundations in Haiti and South Africa, and they “engaged such social issues as racial discrimination, gun control, voter participation, xenophobia, rights of immigrants and the social stigma of HIV/AIDS,” the release said.

“I want the students to understand that they can do meaningful work that will benefit others,” Sedlack said, according to the release. “And through these courses, I really think the students begin to understand that design can be used to change lives for the better.”

Sedlack grew up in Greencastle, Indiana and graduated from Notre Dame in 1989 and from Indiana University Master of Fine Arts program in 1993. He joined Notre Dame’s faculty in 1998 after working with design firms in Chicago, the release said. In 2001, he redesigned Notre Dame’s shield, typography and color palette.

“Robert Sedlack was a visionary leader in the graphic design program at Notre Dame,” Department of Art, Art History and Design chair Richard Gray said in the release. “His approach to design solutions for underserved populations was an exceptional example of turning scholarship into service, of using design to make a difference in the lives of others. Our university has lost an incredible colleague, teacher, mentor, and friend.”

There will be hours of visitation from 4 to 6 p.m., followed by a 30 minute wake, all at the Basilica of the Sacred Heart on June 3, according to a University spokesperson. The funeral service will take place June 4 at 9:30 a.m., the release said. Sedlack is survived by his wife Theresa and two children, Emma and Trey.

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