|Professor Emeritus Horst Deppe says a few words at a retirement party for Hanno Ehses, recently retired design professor, in 2009. |
He is remembered as the quintessential tough-but-fair teacher—“a gentleman professor.”
Horst Deppe, 82, passed away on Friday, Oct. 28, surrounded by family. Professor Emeritus at NSCAD University, he started working at Nova Scotia College of Art in 1962—“Horst Deppe put the ‘D’ in NSCAD”—and retired as head of the design division in 1995.
NSCAD alumni recalled a professor who was supportive of students and passionate about design.
“He was an incredibly thoughtful person,” says Jeff White, principal with the design firm Kula Partners. He said he was so discouraged after taking his first design class that he almost dropped out—and then he had Horst Deppe for his professor. “He had such a gentle way of pulling better work out of you than you knew was even possible.
“And he made that program,” he adds. “After I graduated from NSCAD in 1996, I was lucky enough to be able to travel to some conferences. It was incredible the immediate respect you got having studied design at NSCAD.”
Linda Hutchison, director of University Relations, Alumni and Development, says Prof. Deppe’s encouragement also helped her to persevere: “Unfailingly principled, his passion for design encouraged me to continue in the design program despite the arrival of two children before I could finally complete my degree. It was a male-dominated profession at the time so it was especially profound for me to have his encouragement.”
Graphic designer Steven Slipp knew Prof. Deppe as both a student, and later, as a colleague. He recalled laid-back classes held at his home, one-on-one critiques “that were both blunt and supportive,” and the smell of his Friday afternoon cigar wafting through the hallways.“He was just a lovely guy with a great sense of humor. Of all the professors I had he was the most nurturing and giving,” says Steven, who runs Steven Slipp Design out of his home office in Wolfville, N.S.
Prof. Deppe was “an anchor,” says Garry Neill Kennedy, former president of NSCAD University. His reputation and guidance enhanced the growth of the design department—and the college itself.
“When I arrived in 1967 the design department was clearly the most professional part of the college and when we were searching for design personnel to expand, Horst came up with the names of top people, several of whom joined the faculty and remained for many years. I’m thinking of Tony Mann and Frank Fox in particular.”
After his retirement, Prof. Deppe pursued his love of painting. According to his obituary, he acquired the nickname “the bog man,” as the swamp was his favorite subject. He lived in the village of Herring Cove where foggy mornings on the seashore were plentiful.
Donations in Horst Deppe’s name can be made to the Nature Conservancy of Canada (Atlantic) or in support of the Horst Deppe Alumni Award at NSCAD University. The award was created "as a token of the high esteem" for Prof. Deppe in 2007 and is given annually to a full-time student studying design.
For information or to make a contribution to the Horst Deppe Alumni Award, please contact Chris McFarlane, stewardship coordinator, at nscad.ca, 902-494-8175.