The Macy legacy: How one man’s love affair with art will benefit NAU students for years to come

NAU News

Doug Macy was not an artist, or a Northern Arizona University alum. Yet he was passionate about two things: collecting art and NAU—he had his son to thank for both.Aaron Macy attended NAU in the late 1990s and pursued a degree in Ceramics. It was during those four undergraduate years that he fell in love with Flagstaff, creative expression and his alma mater—he was especially drawn to the woodfired kilns on campus. The Macy house was filled with Aaron’s creations, and consequently, Doug also acquired a strong appreciation for ceramic art.After graduation, Aaron moved to Ohio to pursue a masters of fine arts in ceramics. At the start of his second year of grad school, he became ill and ultimately lost his battle with leukemia. He died at the age of 29.Aaron’s ashes were scattered around Cottonwood Canyon in Utah—one of his favorite places. For many summers thereafter, Doug would make the 800-mile journey from Portland to the canyon to visit his son’s resting place. After spending a couple days in Utah, he would make his way to northern Arizona to spend time at Aaron’s other favorite place—NAU’s Ceramics Complex.“It was my first summer at NAU when I saw this man wandering around the wood kiln facility looking really sad,” ceramics professor Jason Hess said. “So I went down and introduced myself and said, ‘why don’t you come on up to the shop?’ And so, he did. We hung out and had tea. That’s when our friendship started.”Doug and Hess would grow to be great friends. They talked about art, and Doug shared stories about his son.One of NAU’s woodfired kilns on the complex, that Aaron especially loved.“Aaron’s death was devastating for him—no parent should ever have to experience losing …

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