Alumni Association Awards
RISD invites our alumni to nominate deserving members from across our global community for the 2023 Alumni Association Awards. DEADLINE EXTENDED! Nominations must be submitted by January 27, 2023.
Honorees will be recognized at the 2023 RISD Awards Dinner during Commencement + Reunion Weekend.
About the Awards
The RISD Alumni Association honors alumni who, through their work, exemplify RISD’s core values and positively impact their communities. The Alumni Association Awards Committee issues an annual call for nominations to the RISD community and decides who will receive the awards each year. Learn more about our previous awardees
The RISD Alumni Association Award Committee, of the Alumni Association Leadership Council, which oversees the administration of the awards program and honors awardees in an annual recognition event for the following awards:
The Helen Adelia Rowe Metcalf Visionary Award
The Helen Adelia Rowe Metcalf Visionary Award. This award is the highest award by the RISD Alumni Association and honors Helen Metcalf, the founder of RISD, her visionary spirit, and civic generosity. The award recognizes alumni who have achieved outstanding distinction in their life’s work in a professional field, or in community, public or humanitarian service.
The Emerging Leader Award
The Emerging Leader Award recognizes alumni who graduated within the past 10 years, who have made significant achievements and contributions to their profession and/or community, think boldly, mindfully and creatively, and have helped to create new fields of study or contributed to fundamental change in their area of practice.
The Art and Design Educator Award
The RISD Art + Design Educator Award recognizes alumni who demonstrate exceptional skills as an educator or a clear commitment to the field of art education, and are recognized by their peers and students as having shown those qualities that most encourage students to learn and thrive creatively.
The RISD Serves Award
The RISD Serves Award recognizes alumni who have achieved distinction through significant contributions and voluntary service to improving the lives of others over a sustained period of time. The award recognizes the values of service and civic responsibility that reflect RISD’s core values.
Alumni Volunteer Award
At Commencement + Reunion Weekend 2023, the RISD Alumni Association will, for the first time, confer the Alumni Volunteer Award to an individual who has demonstrated extraordinary service working in support of RISD. Extraordinary service may be defined in many ways and includes mentoring, volunteering as a critic, serving on advisory committees, fundraising, leading an alumni club or affinity group, or any other service in support of the mission, vision and values of RISD.
This past June, the RISD Alumni Association honored the 2021 and 2022 Alumni Award recipients at Commencement + Reunion Weekend 2022.
Art & Design Educator Award
Jawaher Al-Bader BArch 98
Jawaher Al-Bader is a founding partner of Art Studio KWT and an assistant professor in the department of communication design at the College of Architecture at Kuwait University. Her architectural works include two campuses in Kuwait: Fawzia Al Sultan International School and Bayan Bilingual School. In addition to her degree from RISD, she holds an M.F.A. in painting from Pratt Institute and a Ph.D. in curriculum instructions in art and design education from Arizona State University.
Why selected: Jawaher has been contributing tirelessly to spread art awareness and break the stigmas of what it takes to be an artist or create art. Even when faced with obstacles, she kept pushing forward because of her deep faith that she is doing a service to society and the psycho social wellbeing of our community as a whole. Her deep involvement in art education has truly left a remarkable impression on any student who has had the privilege to share, receive and exchange any type of creative dialogue in her presence. She not only demonstrates artistic techniques, but goes above and beyond to stir the very essence of her students' creative thought process; a process that starts deep within one's very existence. A student does not learn art with Jawaher. A student experiences a whole new world of inner expression.
Emerging Leader Award
Tara Gupta 19 FAV
Tara Gupta is a research-based artist and the founder of both Anamakos and Map-Collective Inc., companies focused on sustainability. Anamakos raised $160,000 in pre-seed money to purchase a $400,000 triplex in Providence, Rhode Island, that focuses on zero waste construction practices. The goal of Anamkos is to create self-reliant communities across the United States and globally with energy-efficient systems and post-capitalist ideologies.
In 2022, she was included in Forbes 30 Under 30: Energy. In addition to her degree from RISD, she earned an M.B.A. from Georgetown University.
Why selected: She founded Map-Collective.com to visually map carbon footprints of multiple sectors-governments, businesses, non-profits, and individuals-on one, unified platform, contextualizing and publicizing this information to put resource management in the hands of all. Their approach to carbon accounting fills a unique niche, contextualizing individual and organizational footprints within the larger system, utilizing a planetary boundaries lens, and allowing us to plan for 2030, 2050, and beyond on a global scale.
RISD Serves (two independent winners)
Tanya Aguiñiga MFA 05 FD
Tanya Aguiñiga is a Los Angeles-based artist, designer, and craftsperson who was raised in Tijuana, Mexico. In her formative years, she created various collaborative installations with the Border Arts Workshop, an artists' group that engages the languages of activism and community-based public art. Her current work uses craft as a performative medium to generate dialogues about identity, culture, and gender while creating community.
Why selected: AMBOS (Art Made Between Opposite Sides) was founded by Tanya Aguiñiga. This project was born out of the need to use her skills to address the ongoing issues that her family and community face where she grew up. Aguiñiga was raised in Tijuana, México where the border fence cuts into the ocean. She crossed the border every day for 14 years to get an education in the US. As part of the Border Arts Workshop, a community of artists that addressed border issues. There she helped found a community center in an autonomous land-squat run by indigenous women in the outskirts of Tijuana. Outstanding artist, maker, community, activist and organizer; very dedicated to working with and elevating borderland communities and makers.
Max Frieder 12 PT
Max Frieder is the co-founder and executive director of Artolution, a global non-profit organization that seeks to strengthen communities experiencing crises through collaborative art-making. His projects have taken him from Israel and Palestine to the Jordanian-Syrian border, Turkey, India, New Zealand, Australia, Costa Rica, Colombia, Cuba, Peru, Mexico, Canada, and throughout the United States. His work focuses on cultivating public engagement through creative facilitation and inspired participation.
Why selected: He has worked with communities in different contexts across the globe. His work ranges from community building in the refugee crisis, hospital workshops, abuse and addiction counseling through art, trauma relief, reconciliation and conflict resolution. He leads collaborative mural programs as well as creating the "Foundstrument Soundstrument Project", building interactive percussive sculptures out of trash and recycled materials.
Metcalf Visionary Award
Melissa McGill 91 SC
Melissa McGill is a New York-based interdisciplinary artist known for ambitious, collaborative, site-specific public art projects. They take the form of site-specific, immersive experiences that explore nuanced conversations between land, water, sustainable traditions, and the interconnectedness of all living things, public art projects, and solo exhibitions nationally and internationally since 1991. Ms. McGill has presented independently spanning a variety of media including performance, photography, painting, drawing, sculpture, sound, light, video, and immersive installation.
Why selected: Melissa consistently connects her work to the communities it affects through a deep connection with the people affected, and community involvement in the process. Her recent endeavor, Red Regatta, was an independent public art project that activated Venice’s lagoon and canals with four unprecedented large-scale regattas of traditional vela al terzo sailboats hoisted with hand-painted red sails.
2021 Alumni Award Recipients
Renata Fenton 06 ID and Enrique Lomnitz 06 ID
Fenton is co-founder, design-engineer and design director and Lomnitz is co-founder, industrial designer and general director for Isla Urbana, an organization that harvests rainwater for water supply in Mexico. They identify ways to design socially and environmentally responsible decentralized systems, alternative water technologies and capacity development for low-income communities. Their work brings clean water to schools, households and health clinics. These sustainable efforts aim to serve approximately 12 million people who do not currently have access to clean water. They have installed more than 21,000 rainwater harvesting systems serving approximately 200,000 people throughout Mexico. The systems reduce the energy consumption of delivering water to communities by truck, and create sustainability and resilience in water access in the most difficult contexts.
Yelitsa Jean-Charles 16 IL
Emerging Leader Award
Jean-Charles is the CEO and founder of Healthy Roots Dolls, a multicultural children’s toy company celebrating the beauty of our diversity. Healthy Roots Dolls first line of products empower young girls to love their natural hair through hairplay. Jean-Charles has won the Startup Stampede, New Voices Fund Pitch competition, participated in the Backstage Capital Accelerator program and was awarded the first Main Street Ventures Wendy S. Lea Female Founders Grant. In 2019, Healthy Roots Dolls took First Place and People's Choice at the Quicken Loans Detroit Demo Day. Jean-Charles is a 2021 Forbes 30 under 30 Honoree. Her mission is to make sure everyone loves their healthy roots.
Brian Selznick 88 IL
Helena Adelia Rowe Metcalf Visionary Award
Selznick is a world-renowned author and illustrator. He created the book The Invention of Hugo, which won the Caldecott Medal and was the basis for the Oscar-winning movie Hugo. He has also written and illustrated Wonderstruck, which was made into a movie for which he authored the screenplay. Other illustrated books include The Marvels, The Doll People, The Dinosaurs of Waterhouse Hawkins and Amelia and Eleanor Go For a Ride. Selznick wrote a new version of the Nutcracker for Christopher Wheeldon at the Joffrey Ballet, created new cover art for the Harry Potter series for its 20th anniversary and is collaborating with Wheeldon and Ryan Scott Oliver to adapt The Invention of Hugo into a musical. Selznick’s most recent illustrated book Live Oak, With Moss, offers a visual narrative of Walt Whitman’s poems exploring same-sex love.
Stephanie Silverman 04 FD
RISD Art + Design Educator Award
Silverman chairs the Fine Art Department at Archmere Academy and has served on the boards of the Delaware Art Education Association and the Delaware Foundation for the Visual Arts. Silverman's students have won over 1,000 awards in the national Scholastic Art Awards program and over $2 million in scholarships. She earned National Board Certification in Early Adolescence-Young Adulthood Art Education (K-12) and holds three instructional licenses. Her awards include the NAEA National Eastern Region Secondary Art Educator of the Year, Delaware’s Secondary Art Educator of the Year, the Diane Taylor Foxman Award for Excellence in Art Education and RISD's Tage Frid Award for Excellence in Teaching.
Past Alumni Association Award Recipients
- Kara Walker MFA 94 PT/PR Helen Adelia Rowe Metcalf Visionary Award
- Jon Key 13 GD Emerging Leader Award
- Rodolphe el-Khoury BArch 86 Art and Design Educator Award
- Lina Sergie Attar MArch 01 Inaugural RISD Serves Award
- Deborah Berke BArch 77 Helen Adelia Metcalf Award
- Grace Jun 09 GD Emerging Leader Award
- Todd Bartel 85 PT Art and Design Educator Award
- David Hanson 96 FAV Professional Achievement Award
- Roz Chast 77 PT Professional Achievement Award
- Bunny Harvey 67 PT/ MFA 72 Professional Achievement Award
- Miriam Beerman 45 PT Professional Achievement Award
- Hildegard Vasquez BArch 94 Professional Achievement Award
- Tamara Kaplan MAT 00 Art and Education Award
- Nicholas Felton 99 GD Business of Design Award
- Katie Salen MFA 92 GD Art and Education Award
- Deidre Scherer 67 AE Artistic Achievement Award
- Liz Collins 91 TX/MFA 99 Art and Education Award
- Walter Lorraine 52 AD Professional Achievement Award
- Nat Hesse 76 SC Service and Leadership Award
- Jeffrey Yan BArch 01 Art and Education Award
- Julie Mehretu MFA 97 PT/PR Artistic Achievement Award
- DEZCO Entrepreneurial Award
- Barbara O'Brien MFA 90 PH Professional Achievement Award
- Philip Trammell Siebert, Jr. (deceased) 67 IA Service and Leadership Award
- Laura Owens 92 PT Artistic Achievement Award
- James C. Childress BArch 78 Professional Achievement Award
- Franz Werner Art of Education Award
- Jarrett J. Krosoczka 99 IL Service and Leadership Award
- Christopher Bing 83 IL Artistic Achievement Award
- Oren Sherman 78 IL Professional Achievement Award
- risd/works Business of Design Award
- Henry Horenstein 71 PH/ MFA 73 Art of Education Award
- Anthony Belluschi BArch 66 Service and Leadership Award
- Janine Antoni MFA 89 SC Artistic Achievement Award
- Steven Kellogg 63 IL Professional Achievement Award
- Charles Stone III 88 IL Business of Design Award
- David Paolino 74 IL/MAE 75 Art of Education Award
- C. Dave Thomas MFA 74 PR Service and Leadership Award
- Ed Neubauer BArch 92 Service and Leadership Award
- Tyler Smith 66 GD Business of Design Award
- Stephen Saunders MAE 84 Art of Education Award
- Tim Hunter 98 ID Fine Arts Achievement Award
- Mark Goodkin 87 PT Alumni Volunteer Award
- Margot Livingston 95 IL Service and Leadership Award
- Colgate Searle 71 LA Art of Education Award
- Nancy Davis 79 PH Alumni Volunteer Award
- David Jaacks BArch 93 Business of Design Award
- Susan Barbieri Montgomery 71 AE/MAE 78 Service and Leadership Award
- Sylvia Arnold BArch 80 Alumni Volunteer Award
- Peter Niemitz BArch 76 Business of Design Award
- Judy Sue Goodwin Sturges 66 IL Art of Education Award
- Giancario Ronci Service and Leadership Award
- Lorraine Howes Honorary Alumnus/na Award
- Steven Whitten Honorary Alumnus/na Award
- Bud Greenwald (deceased) Distinguished Citizen Award
- Jackie Rice Faculty Member of the Year Award
- Jocelyn Hobbie 91 PT Young Alumnus/na Achievement Award
- Michael Fink Honorary Alumnus/na Award
- Carolina Calderin (deceased) Alumni Service Award
- Maria Tulokas MAE 74/ MFA 76 PR Faculty Member of the Year Award
- Joshua Yeldham 92 FAV Young Alumnus/na Achievement Award
- Anita Teto Honorary Alumnus/na Award
- Paul Timmons Honorary Alumnus/na Award
- C. George Taylor (deceased) Distinguished Citizen Award
- Dana Newbrook BArch 63 Alumni Service Award
- Jim Barnes BArch 69 Faculty Member of the Year Award
- Nancy Hastings Honorary Alumnus/na Award
- Philip Briggs BArch 64 (deceased) Alumni Service Award
- Jack Massey Faculty Member of the Year Award
- Zachary Stratis 87 FAV Young Alumnus/na Achievement Award
- Murray S. Danforth Honorary Alumnus/na Award
- Ann Finkbeiner & James Carlin Walker Distinguished Citizen Award
- Luigi Bianco 69 TX (deceased) Alumni Service Award
- Ken Hunnibell 69 ID/ MAE 72 (deceased) Faculty Member of the Year Award
- Adelaide Hawkins Honorary Alumnus/na Award
- Marjorie and Robert Catanzaro Distinguished Citizen Award
- W. Bruce Tillinghast 68 GD Alumni Service Award
- John Udvardy Faculty Member of the Year Award
- Emily Lisker 86 PT Young Alumnus/na Achievement Award
- J. Malcolm Grear Honorary Alumnus/na Award
- Honorable Claiborne Pell Distinguished Citizen Award
- John McCrillis 39 GD Alumni Service Award
- Gregor Goethals Faculty Member of the Year Award
- Allison Druin 85 GD Young Alumnus/na Achievement Award
- Joanne Lynch Honorary Alumnus/na Award
- IBM Distinguished Citizen Award
- John Davison Allen BArch 68 (deceased) Alumni Service Award
- C. Warren Luther BArch 49 (deceased) Faculty Member of the Year Award
- Michael Leva 83 AD Young Alumnus/na Achievement Award
- Charles Moccio Honorary Alumnus/na Award
- Barnet and Jean Fain Distinguished Citizen Award
- Linda Joy Goldner 73 GD Alumni Service Award
- Hardu Keck MFA 64 PT Faculty Member of the Year Award
- Geoffrey Adams 83 FAV Young Alumnus/na Achievement Award
- Erminio Pinque 83 IL Young Alumnus/na Achievement Award
- Franklin W. Robinson Honorary Alumnus/na Award
- Daphne Farago Distinguished Citizen Award
- Dick Jones 51 GD (deceased) Alumni Service Award
- Yvonne Anderson MAE 92 Faculty Member of the Year Award
- Christopher Osgood MFA 85 SC Young Alumnus/na Achievement Award
- Bayard Ewing Honorary Alumnus/na Award
- The Louis A Fazzano Family Distinguished Citizen Award
- Steven Branfman MAE 75 Alumni Service Award
- Michael Fink Faculty Member of the Year Award
- Donald Friedlich 82 JM Young Alumnus/na Achievement Award
- Tyler Smith 66 GD Alumnus of the Year
- Al Falk Honorary Alumnus/na Award
- The Providence Journal Company Distinguished Citizen Award
- Erma Leavitt 44 PT Alumni Service Award
- Lorraine Howes Faculty Member of the Year Award
- Steven Umbach 80 ID Young Alumnus/na Achievement Award
- Carolyn Hawes Honorary Alumnus/na Award
- Corning Glass Works Distinguished Citizen Award
- Peter Meserol 66 ID (deceased) Alumni Service Award
- Ron Chatalbash 81 IL Young Alumnus/na Achievement Award
- Gordon Allen (deceased) Honorary Alumnus/na Award
- Virginia Lynch (deceased) Distinguished Citizen Award
- Reno Shope, Wharton Assoc. Young Alumnus/na Achievement Award
- Robert Reno BArch 78
- Bernard Mapes Wharton BArch 78
- Allan Palmer Shope BArch 78
The Awards Committee solicits nominations and nominates alumni for outstanding leadership and service in a variety of categories. The committee also oversees the administration of the awards program and honors awardees in an annual recognition event. Recognizing alumni achievements is intended to promote and celebrate the meaningful work of alumni, inspire the community, and foster a culture of engagement with and philanthropy towards RISD.
President, Alumni Association
Rex Wong BArch 03
Award Committee Members
Aimee Dixon Anthony 90 AP
Georgie Stout 89 GD