Hazardous Artistry: The Work of Eric Schweitzer

Side view of graduation cap decorated by Schweitzer

By Alyssa Alexsonshk, Social Media and Online Edition Editor

Eric Sweitzer with his decorated graduation cap
Eric Schweitzer poses with his cap and close up of the cap on a chair. (Alyssa Alexsonshk)

The University of Akron alum and current student Eric Schweitzer creates unique, over-the-top, three-dimensional graduation caps. 

Caps? Yes. 

Schweitzer has a special tradition to commemorate the celebration of earning each degree, which is creating his graduation cap as a work of art that reflects his experiences and tells a story.  

 Schweitzer shared his inspiration behind the cap featured here, which he created for his sixth degree, a Bachelor of Arts in Studio Art. 

 “I taught a Hazardous Materials course while in Graduate School, and each cap is a representation of each class of Hazardous Materials,” Schweitzer said. 

 The sixth cap is based on Class #6, Toxic/Infectious Inhalation Hazard. Unfortunately, the world was experiencing its own inhalation hazard while Schweitzer was working on this cap. 

 “I was working on trying to finish this one during the Covid Pandemic,” he said. “One of my Internships at the time was at an art gallery in downtown Canton.”  

 The gallery Schweitzer had been interning at closed permanently because of COVID-19.  

 “I had to find and found another gallery/studio in Alliance, Ohio to finish my last 1 credit to finish my degree,” he said. 

Schweitzer has earned, to this date, an Associate of Arts, Associate of Science, Associate of Applied Science in Fire Protection Technology, Bachelor of Fine Arts in Sculpture, and a Master’s in Public Administration. 

 He is currently working towards finishing his seventh degree here at The University of Akron, a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Ceramics. 

 Does he have a cap planned? 

 “My next graduation will be Class #7 which will be of Radioactive Materials,” he said. 

 The real question is, will he run out of classes of Hazardous materials for all the degrees he will ultimately earn?