In Memoriam: Beloved CCAD Illustration Professor and Designer Mark Hazlerig

Columbus College of Art & Design (CCAD) Illustration Professor Emeritus Mark Hazlerig In the four decades he spent teaching at Columbus College of Art & Design, Illustration Professor Mark Hazlerig was larger than life.

And so were the three-dimensional illustrations he helped his students create.

The giant robot that welcomes people to Kinney Hall. The oversize white paper lady that greets visitors in Design Studios on Broad. The 12-foot tall centipede that startled more than a few people when it lived in the lobby of Kinney Hall.

“Mark was really a force of nature,” said retired instructor Steve Botts.

Hazlerig — a pillar of CCAD’s Illustration program and a beloved figure on campus — died of cancer Tuesday, March 22, 2016, at his home in Canal Winchester. He was 68.

“His family, colleagues and students will sorely miss Mark. He personally encouraged and helped me throughout my adult life as my teacher, co-worker and friend,” said CCAD Illustration Chair Stewart McKissick (CCAD 1979). “But his legacy truly will live in the thousands of lives he touched.”

Hazlerig grew up in Indiana and Kentucky and served in the U.S. Marine Corps before coming to CCAD.

He began teaching Saturday Morning Art Classes here in 1974, the same year he earned an Advertising & Graphic Design degree from CCAD (and four years before he received an Illustration degree from the college in 1978).

At first, he wasn’t sure if he wanted to teach for a living. But that quickly changed.

“I explained things to students and saw the light come on in their heads,” Hazlerig said. “I thought that was pretty neat.”

Students adored Hazlerig.

“Mark was a mystical figure to me and my buddies at CCAD,” said Illustration alum Patrick Moore (CCAD 2010). “He single-handedly taught me everything I know about the history of illustration and totally shaped my views.”

“He was an amazing 3D artist who went big, really big. He was, is, in my opinion, the definition of an illustrator and the symbol of our department. He was CCAD to me.”

Hazlerig’s respect for students struck his fellow educators, including Botts.

“He never ever asked his students to do anything that he couldn’t do or wouldn’t do himself.”

McKissick, CCAD’s Illustration Chair, agreed. (And he had Hazlerig as a teacher.)

“It was in the classroom that Mark shined. An ex-Marine and Vietnam veteran, he was actually a man of few words for a college professor, instead a person of action, down to earth and most of all ‘in the trenches.’ It has now become cliché to use the term, but Mark was above all a maker. He was right next to his students, hands-on, showing and helping much more than just telling. He led by example.”

Hazlerig taught a number of courses at CCAD, but he left a special legacy in the 3D Illustration program.

“He was almost singularly responsible for creating the curriculum and developing the unique atmosphere that has inspired two generations of students and led many to specific careers,” McKissick said.

In addition to his career at CCAD, Hazlerig was an award-winning graphic designer and illustrator. And he was a devoted husband, father and grandfather. 

Hazlerig retired from CCAD last year and was given professor emeritus status. He was also a recipient of the Teaching Excellence Award in 2013.

Such honors were gratifying, Hazlerig said, but they weren’t why he taught for more than 40 years.

“My best work walks across the stage and gets their diplomas at the end of the year,” Hazlerig said. “They are my work.”

Hazlerig leaves his wife of 48 years, Phyllis Hazlerig; their two sons, Sam Hazlerig and Ben (Tori) Hazlerig; four grandchildren, Noah, Ethan, Davis and Valyn; and brother Paul (Janet) Hazlerig.

Family and friends are welcome to visit from 1 to 3 p.m., Saturday, March 26, at the Dwayne R. Spence Funeral Home & Crematory, 550 Hill Rd. N., Pickerington, OH 43147. A memorial service will follow at 3 p.m. Online condolences can be found at