Illustration by Maria Manhattan
Maya Lin was born and raised in the small college town of Athens, Ohio on October 5, 1959. Her parents fled China in 1949, just before the Communists took over. They settled in Athens where both became professors at Ohio University. Her father, a ceramist and dean of the university’s Fine Arts department and her mother, a poet and professor of English and Asian literature nurtured Maya’s sensitivity, artistic experimentation, and respect for nature. As a senior at Yale, studying fine arts and architecture, she entered a national competition and her design was selected as the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington, D.C.