Volume 23, Number 2
0 Alumni Affairs 0

The SVA Alumni Society
Who They Are, What They Do: A message from Jane Nuzzo, director of SVA Alumni Affairs and Development

SVA Alumni Society board members Todd Radom, Lyn Hughes and Romaine Orthwein at the 2015 Pre-Commencement Reception.
Photo: Jacqueline Iannacone

Founded by a group of the College’s graduates in 1971 and incorporated as a nonprofit the following year, the SVA Alumni Society has endured and grown over 44 years, working to support some of the College’s most promising students through scholarships and awards distributed at both the undergraduate and graduate levels. One hundred percent of all donations received by the Alumni Society go directly to the education and financial needs of current SVA students. In addition, the society sponsors alumni exhibitions, lectures, benefits, networking events and other worthwhile programs. Overseeing all of these efforts is the society’s board of directors, a dedicated group of SVA alumni and administrators who give back to the SVA community by volunteering their time, talent and treasure. If you don’t already know them, I would like to introduce them to you now.

SVA Executive Vice President Anthony P. Rhodes serves as chairman and is responsible for overseeing all of the board’s activities, including the organization’s expansion over the past 15 years. Rhodes is joined by longtime board member Lyn Hughes (BFA 1981 Photography), a New York City-based photographer specializing in lifestyle, food and event photography, who serves as the society’s vice president. Todd Radom (BFA 1986 Media Arts), a graphic designer who has created logos for the Washington Nationals, Anaheim Angels and other professional sports teams, is the board’s secretary. Working with a group of fellow alumni, Radom established the 727 Fund, which is designated to support a thesis project by a BFA Advertising, Cartooning, Design or Illustration student. Radom also recently volunteered as curator of “The Sports Show” (see page 4), the society’s fall 2015 alumni exhibition. Sam Modenstein, the executive director of SVA External Relations and a longtime College administrator, serves as the society’s treasurer.

The SVA Alumni Society board with the 2015 Alumni Society Award recipients at the 2015 Pre-Commencement Reception.
Photo: Jacqueline Iannacone

The board’s most recent member is Joe Burrascano (BFA 2002 Computer Art), owner of Nathan Love, an animation, art- and concept-development studio based in New York City, and a regular guest lecturer and thesis advisor in the College’s BFA Computer Art, Computer Animation and Visual Effects Department. Another board member, fine-art photographer and film director Michael Halsband (BFA 1980 Photography), is known for his definitive portraits of many actors, artists and musicians, as well as his surfing photographs. His work has been published widely and is in the permanent collections of The Museum of Modern Art in New York and the Museum of Fine Arts in Houston, among other institutions; over the years, many SVA students have interned at his studio.

As one of the society’s most active volunteers, Romaine Orthwein (MFA 2003 Photography and Related Media) regularly serves on its award panels. Orthwein is a fine-art photographer who has had solo exhibitions in New York City and Los Angeles. Her work can be found in private and corporate collections and has been published in numerous publications in Europe and the United States, including Esquire, Glue and Next Level. Often joining Orthwein on these panels is Lisa Rettig-Falcone (BFA 1983 Media Arts), executive creative director and copywriter at global communications giant EuroRSCG NY. Rettig-Falcone has received ADDY, Athena and CLIO awards, as well as citations from Communication Arts, Creativity, Graphis and the One Show. She also teaches advertising at the College. Rounding out the society’s board is SVA faculty member Tim Rollins (BFA 1977 Fine Arts), a conceptual artist and teacher known for his work with at-risk youth through his Kids of Survival (KOS) organization. Rollins has had solo shows at the Dia Art Foundation in New York City and the Museum of Contemporary Art in Los Angeles and has contributed to group exhibitions at The Museum of Modern Art, the Smithsonian Institution and the Whitney Museum of American Art.

The collective expertise and experience of the society’s board has helped develop and sustain the organization’s many endeavors, including its flagship effort, the Alumni Scholarship Awards program. In their final year at SVA, matriculated students from all majors are eligible to apply for funding in support of their thesis and portfolios projects. In 2002, the program’s first year, 10 students received awards. By 2015, that number had grown to 50, and the society now distributes more than $100,000 each year. This expansion has been made possible by the generosity of alumni, parents and friends of SVA. Additional awards include the Alumni Society Merit Award, the Alumni Society Housing Scholarship, and numerous named funds established by donors and designated for students in specific SVA departments and programs.

SVA Alumni Society Awards 2015
Alumni Scholarship Awards

Katheryn Renfroe, BFA 2015 Design

Thanks to generous contributions from alumni and friends of the College, each spring the Alumni Society distributes several awards honoring current and graduating students. The accolades include the Alumni Society Merit Award, for a BFA candidate who demonstrated community building and leadership excellence while at SVA; the Brian Weil Memorial Award, for a graduating BFA Photography student; the DaVinci Award, for BFA Cartooning and BFA Illustration students whose final projects are illustrated books or graphic novels; the Richard Wilde Award, given to third-year BFA Advertising and BFA Design students; and the Silas H. Rhodes Memorial Award, established in memory of the School of Visual Arts founder, given to third-year BFA Visual and Critical Studies students who demonstrate excellence in writing.

You can support the next generation of artists by donating to the Alumni Society at Be assured that 100 percent of your contribution will go to a future award recipient.

Named Fund Awards

Brian Weil Memorial Award
Elise Swain, BFA 2015 Photography

DaVinci Award
Hyunsung Lee, BFA 2015 Cartooning
Ellis Powell, BFA 2015 Cartooning

Richard Wilde Award
Claudine Eriksson, BFA Design

Silas H. Rhodes Memorial Award
Brooke Latham,BFA Visual and Critical Studies
Julia Stoddard, BFA Visual and Critical Studies





Credits            From the President