More about Lee Spalt Hi, Lee Spalt was a design student in the late 50s and early 60s and remembers attending classes in the basement and under the north stairwell in the Allyn Building before the Design Department moved to the second floor of the newly built Morris Library. The department was divided into 2-D and 3-D (Product-Shelter Design) divisions. Check out Lee’s website at:

Twenty questions: I was grilled by Harold Cohen

September 2021. I've been enjoying reading about the history of the SIUC Design Department and have learned a great deal that was not previously known to me. My memory was jogged. My favorite instructors in the late 1950s were Herb Roan, Davis Pratt, Harold Cohen and Elsa Kula. After leaving the department I taught print making as a grad assistant in the Art Department. When I returned to work at SIUC in the early 1970s, Elsa and I visited at noon in my office at the Health Service while we ate our sack lunches. As I recall, Elsa offered an unsolicited critique of my unhealthy white bread sandwich. I switched to whole grain bread thereafter. In the early years Davis Pratt taught an introductory course devoted to thought processes for designers in the basement of the Allyn Building. The focus of the course was on identifying the "real" design problem underlying any supposed design problem that was proposed initially. We were schooled on asking the "right" questions concerning a design problem and spent the quarter playing the twenty questions game. Our choices of questions and method of thinking was evaluated and examined. The course's final exam was conducted in individual interviews with Harold Cohen, the department's chair. My final exam interview was scheduled for one of the large, empty classrooms on the third floor of the Old Main building. I arrived for our meeting and nervously awaited the chairman. Harold Cohen, a few minutes after the appointed time, hurried into the room. As he entered, I noticed that his gaze briefly darted upward at a large, ornate cast iron return air duct grill located high on the tall room's wall. After a few words of greeting, we began the exam interview. Harold indicated that he was thinking of some object and awaited my first question. After pondering my options, I elected to take a chance and asked, "Is it that grill?" and pointed at the air duct covering. Harold was incredulous, but acknowledged my correct identification of his selected item. I don't recall my grade in the twenty questions course.

TV Interview

Click the picture to open a new window where you can view a half hour interview with Lee Spalt. Lee is interviewed by Najjar Abdul-Musawwir, the host of the WSIU TV Expressions show.
Design at Southern Illinois University