The Power of Giving: Father and Son Invest in the Hite Institute of Art and Design
May 18, 2023
UofL’s Hite Institute of Art and Design, established in 1946 with a bequest from Allen R. Hite, has been greatly strengthened in recent decades by ongoing contributions from a father and son, Michael Lynn Power and Michael David Power, who passed away in 2015 and 2021, respectively. Last year, a tree was planted in their memory, adding to their legacy that is already living on through the students who have benefited from their generosity. Leslie Friesen, Emeritus Power Agency Designer-in-Residence, who retired in 2022, shared these remarks at that celebration:
Mike Power was a 1965 alum of the Hite Institute of Art and Design. He was able to go to college because of the Hite Scholarship he received. He never forgot that and was always supportive of UofL. When the graphic design program needed to add a computer lab in 2001, Mike stepped up to the plate and donated money to purchase 20 iMacs. Five years later, Mike was asked for another significant donation to provide funding to help underwrite the cost of a Designer-in-Residence faculty position, which he continued supporting annually until his death at age 71 in 2015.
At that time, Mike’s son, David Power, who had grown up working at The Power Agency and became CEO when his father’s health began to decline, negotiated with UofL to set up endowments that would honor Mike’s interests and wishes. Mike’s bequest became three endowments providing funding for: 1) scholarships for graphic design students, 2) a biennial lecture by a noted visiting designer, and 3) an annual award for an outstanding senior in graphic design. David also ensured that the Designer-in-Residence position established by his father continued receiving an annual cash gift through The Power Agency.
In June 2020, David called me. He was his usual straightforward, optimistic, but realistic self. He let me know he had been diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. He wanted to reassure us that, as he put it, he would “take care of the program,” and indeed he did. Tragically, David died in July 2021, less than a month before his fiftieth birthday. David’s generosity continued through his estate plans, which will ensure that all of his father’s initiatives, including the Designer-in-Residence position, would continue in perpetuity. Their commitment to supporting our program was unwavering, and their legacy continues to live on.
Leslie Friesen, Emeritus Power Agency Designer-in-Residence, spoke at last year’s tree planting commemorating Mike Power’s and David Power’s enormous impact on the Hite Institute of Art and Design. Friesen was succeeded this year by Sheri Squires as the new Designer-in-Residence. Friesen was succeeded this year by Sheri Squires as the new Michael L. Power Designer-in-Residence.