Washburn's mascot, the Ichabod, honors the school's early benefactor, Ichabod Washburn, a 19th century Massachusetts industrialist. The original design of the studious-looking, tuxedo-clad figure was created in 1938 by Bradbury Thompson (ba '34), who became an internationally acclaimed graphic artist. Design wasn't Thompson's only consideration. To the stylized Ichabod the artist attributed the qualities of "...courage and enthusiasm, as shown by his brisk walk. He is democratic and courteous, for he tips his hat as he passes. Sincere in his search for truth and knowledge, he studiously carries a book under his arm..."
Several students who attended CalArts' animation programs in the 1970s eventually found work at Walt Disney Animation Studios , and several of those went on to successful careers at Disney, Pixar , and other animation studios. In March 2014, Vanity Fair magazine highlighted the success of CalArts' 1970s animation alumni and briefly profiled several (including Jerry Rees , John Lasseter , Tim Burton , John Musker , Brad Bird , Gary Trousdale , Kirk Wise , Henry Selick and Nancy Beiman ) in an article illustrated with a group portrait taken by photographer Annie Leibovitz inside classroom A113 .