The University of Michigan community will mourn the tragic loss of Professor William Shaun Jackson. Known to family, friends and colleagues as Shaun, the professor died Tuesday from injuries sustained in a Florida plane crash last weekend. Jackson, a flying enthusiast and member of the Michigan Flying Club, was intending on buying a seaplane to travel between his Ann Arbor and Canada waterfront homes, according to his business partner Mark Zadvinskis (

The accident happened during take-off when the plane was unable to gain altitude and crashed near the Sarasota-Bradenton International Airport, according to the Sarasota County Fire Department (The Miami Herald). Local Florida news reported that Jackson was able to escape after the plane crashed by hitting two trees as it burst into flames on the New College campus near the airport. Unfortunately the pilot, John Ardoyno was killed.

Jackson, 63, a world renown inventor, designer and entrepreneur founded his first company, Eclipse Inc., while still a student at the University of Michigan and was selected as a case study for a National Endowment for the Arts research project entitled “The Competitive Edge: The Role of Design in American Business.”( Jackson believed “design thinking should move freely to all fields of study” as he developed and taught classes through an interdisciplinary collaboration by holding three professorships at U of M Ann Arbor’s School of Art and Design, Taubman College of Architecture and Urban Planning and in the Steven M. Ross School of Business.

Along with teaching, Jackson owned and operated a design consultancy firm with partner Mark Zadvinskis, Shaun Jackson Design and Higher Ground where companies such as Apple, General Electric Medical Systems, Herman Miller, Harley Davidson, Nike, L.L. Bean, Harley Davidson and Patagonia were included on his client list. His designs have been featured in publications like Time magazine, The New York Times, Los Angeles Times, The Washington Post, BusinessWeek, USA Today, Popular Science, Popular Mechanics and Wired as he also holds more than 50 patents and captured national and international honors, including an IDEA award from the International Designers Society of America (IDSA) for his Eclipse Motorcycle Saddle packs.

Shaun Jackson will be remembered by the design community, colleagues and students as an inspiration and visionary that will be sorely missed throughout the entire Wolverine family.