2017 Legacy Award Winner Spotlight: Nancy Hiss, IIDA, IDEC


The IIDA Oregon Chapter is advanced by the dedication, support and leadership of our community. The Legacy Award recognizes and honors a person, company or organization whose contributions have advanced the Interior Design profession and enriched Interior Design in Oregon. The recipient of this award has exemplified traits as an advocate, mentor, designer innovator and sustainable leader – values held by the IIDA Oregon Chapter.

The winner of the 2017 Legacy Award winner is Nancy Hiss, IIDA, IDEC, Marylhurst University Adjunct Faculty, Interior Design. Nancy was nominated an incredible 6 times by several of her students, and a professional colleague. The descriptions of how Nancy is a Legacy as an advocate, mentor, design innovator and sustainable leaders are excerpts of the nominations submitted.

Legacy as an Advocate: “Nancy has been an advocate for Interior Design through her teaching; making sure that her students are educated about Interior Design legislation. She encourages her students to become involved in industry organizations, including the IIDA Oregon Chapter and IDC-Oregon. In a way, her strongest advocacy has been opening the minds of her students to understanding the myriad ways in which Interior Designers impact the health, safety and well being of occupants. Nancy also equips emerging professionals with the knowledge they need to advocate for themselves, and to educate others on the role Interior Designers play in the design on the built environment. Nancy Hiss advocates for peace, social justice, tolerance, and kindness.”

Legacy as a Mentor: “As the Interior Design Program Director at Marylhurst University, Nancy was a mentor to every student she taught. She was instrumental in getting the program CIDA accredited, and for building it into an esteemed and nationally recognized destination for Interior Design education. Nancy was always available to answer questions, and her feedback was always positive and constructive. She also went above and beyond  by volunteering her personal time to mentor students in their thesis year.”

Legacy as a Design Innovator: “For the past decade, Nancy Hiss has been a leader and mentor for the Interior Design program at Marylhurst (MU), equipping students to be productive contributors in the design industry. She is highly admired and respected by the staff at MU, her colleagues in the industry, and her students. As an instructor, she didn’t waste time on imaginary projects–they always had a practical purpose in hopes that something real could come from the efforts, e.g., redesigning the basement of Shoen Library at MU, adding a media library to the Hollywood Theater, giving the music department a performance venue at MU, research and design support for best utilization of the Ballusci Pavillion.

Another powerful project was the Iraq Names Project, started in 2007 and ending in 2012. Nancy’s compassion for fallen soldiers and their loved ones, and her passion for bringing awareness, did not waiver while completing the project, even among some opposition.” See photos and read more about the Iraq Names Project here.

Legacy as a Sustainable Leader: “Nancy always challenged her students to not only consider the initial environmental impact of a project being built, but also the life cycle of the project, and how we can work to be environmental stewards now and into the future. She always encouraged us to research where our materials came from, and make decisions based on durability and responsible manufacturing practices.  She also practices what she preaches and lives her life with as small a carbon footprint as she can.”

The IIDA Oregon Chapter thanks Nancy Hiss for being a truly dedicated mentor, design innovator, sustainable leader and advocate for the profession of Commercial Interior Design in the State of Oregon.