Thayer Fellowship & Patricia K. Ross Awards
Each year, a Thayer Fellowship in the amount of $7,000 is awarded to one student, or shared among several students, who demonstrate outstanding achievement and high professional potential in the arts. The Patricia Kerr Ross Award, for $1,000, is given to a student, or shared among several students, who have demonstrated excellence, originality, and promise in the arts. Both awards are intended as a bridge between SUNY study in the arts and entry into a professional career in the arts.
The Thayer Fellowship was established in 1985-86 by the late Walter N. Thayer, Chairman of Whitney Communications, New York City, in honor of his wife, Jeanne C. Thayer, who was a SUNY trustee from 1974 to 1984 and an active supporter of the arts. The Thayers wanted to assist SUNY's most talented young artists at the most difficult period of time for a young professional, when the struggle to make a living can overwhelm even the most dedicated individual. The fellowship helps the artist take advantage of important opportunities.
Patricia Kerr Ross dedicated 30 years of service to SUNY, where she began in 1969 as Assistant to the University Dean in the University-wide Program in the Arts. Ross directed the University-wide Programs in the Arts from 1971-91, and over the years, was also a board and committee member, panelist and speaker for a variety of arts-related organizations in New York State. She was a founding board member of the Gallery Association of New York State in 1973 and the Association of SUNY Arts Presenters in 1982. Following her death in 1999, Ross’ $30,000 bequest created the Patricia Kerr Ross Award to benefit graduates in the arts by enhancing the outreach of the Thayer Fellowship program.
Nearly 100 applications for the awards are received each year. The applications are evaluated by a Jury Panel of experts in the various arts disciplines. The finalists are then interviewed in person by the Jury Panel, and their work is reviewed during performances, readings, screenings, and exhibitions. At the end of this process, the jury panel determines the winners.