SUNY Chancellor King Announces Top SUNY Students for Their Achievement in the Arts

April 14, 2023

University at Albany and Purchase College Students Honored with This Year’s Thayer Fellowships and Patricia Kerr Ross Award

Three Winners of the 2023 ‘Best of SUNY Art Exhibition Series’ Celebrated

Albany, NY – In a celebration of the arts across the State University of New York colleges and universities, SUNY Chancellor John B. King, Jr. today announced the honorees of the Thayer Fellowships and Patricia Kerr Ross Award, as well as winners of the 2023 ‘Best of SUNY Art Exhibition’ at SUNY’s H. Carl McCall Building.

"It is inspiring to be able to witness first-hand the creativity of the next generation of artists who are honing their craft right here at SUNY. As our society becomes more technologically advanced, it is important to remember there is still a place for the arts and humanities, which can expose students to a broad array of perspectives, allowing them to become more well-rounded individuals," said SUNY Chancellor King. "Art is a form of expression that empowers by providing outlets for individuals to process and express their emotions; through art, we can form a deeper connection, a deeper understanding of ourselves and the world around us."

Thayer Fellowships and Patricia Kerr Ross Award

Established in memoriam of Jeanne C. Thayer, SUNY Board Trustee from 1974-1984, and Patricia Kerr Ross, former artistic director of the Thayer Fellowship, these honors are awarded each year to outstanding students preparing for graduation from a SUNY school.

The fellowships are intended to provide post-graduate support for SUNY students pursuing careers in the arts. The awards may be used for, but not limited to, auditions, studio space, supplies, equipment, website development, rent, recording sessions, and publishing costs.

Two Thayer Fellowships of $7,000 each may be given to one individual or divided between two outstanding candidates. The Fellowship selection is based on talent, achievement, and potential as a professional artist. The Ross Award of $1,000 is given annually to an individual or divided among two exceptional applicants. The basis for this award is excellence, originality, and promise. The awards are available to seniors and graduate students in the arts who are about to graduate from the University and make a career in the arts. They are not intended for students going on to graduate school.

The winners of the Thayer Fellowship are:

  • Jo-Chen Chang, Purchase College, fourth-year student at the Conservatory of Dance
  • Pamela (Grace) Rawden, University at Albany, graduate student in Fine Arts

The winner of the Patricia Kerr Ross Award is:

  • Julia Klot, Purchase College, graduate student in the Studio Composition Program in the Conservatory of Music

Daniel Goodwin, director of the Studio Art Program at the University at Albany, said, "Grace Rawden is one of the most talented, prolific, and promising artists I’ve ever worked with in the MFA program in the Department of Art and Art History. With ferocious intelligence and a poetic visual sensibility, she mines past childhood traumas to produce challenging and compelling sculptural installations and objects. Her ability to transform space and materials draws the viewer into a quiet, evocative world. I’m delighted that she has received this prestigious award. The recognition is very well-deserved."

Purchase College President Milagros "Milly" Peña said, "I am proud to congratulate our students, Jo-Chen Chang and Julia Klot, who have been awarded with the Thayer Fellowship and the Ross Award, and Fidelis Izekor, who has been recognized in the Best of SUNY Art Exhibition. These students have shown tremendous talent, accomplishment, and potential while making significant contributions to their artistic fields of dance, music, and art. We look forward to following their careers and continuing to watch them grow as artists."

Best of SUNY Art Exhibition

The ‘Best of SUNY Art Exhibition’ showcases artistic works by student artists from across the SUNY system. Selected student artwork has been on display at the H. Carl McCall Building in Albany since December of 2022. Artwork featured at the ‘Best of SUNY’ exhibit are chosen by respective campus art departments. The traditional areas of drawing, ceramics, painting, sculpture, photography, and printmaking are included, as well as non-traditional forms including mixed media, graphic design, and digitally produced works.

Three Best of SUNY student artists will receive $1,000 scholarships. They are:

  • Grace Moon, Binghamton UniversityDay and Night, I Pick Flowers for You
  • Jialun Tong, Fashion Institute of TechnologyBlue
  • Kenneth Rutsky, Hudson Valley Community CollegeHiding in Plain Sight

Honorable Mention awards of $500 were also given to four students. They are:

  • Kayla Edmonston, Fashion Institute of TechnologyThankful for Rosenquist, Postage, Receipts, and Tape
  • Nicholas Latham, Mohawk Valley Community CollegeEdwards Unspoken Words
  • Hallie Corrow, SUNY PotsdamMessenger to the Eclipse
  • Fidelis Izekor, Purchase CollegeSelf Portrait


About the State University of New York
The State University of New York is the largest comprehensive system of higher education in the United States, and more than 95 percent of all New Yorkers live within 30 miles of any one of SUNY’s 64 colleges and universities. Across the system, SUNY has four academic health centers, five hospitals, four medical schools, two dental schools, a law school, the country’s oldest school of maritime, the state’s only college of optometry, and manages one US Department of Energy National Laboratory. In total, SUNY serves about 1.4 million students amongst its entire portfolio of credit- and non-credit-bearing courses and programs, continuing education, and community outreach programs. SUNY oversees nearly a quarter of academic research in New York. Research expenditures system-wide are nearly $1.1 billion in fiscal year 2023, including significant contributions from students and faculty. There are more than three million SUNY alumni worldwide, and one in three New Yorkers with a college degree is a SUNY alum. To learn more about how SUNY creates opportunities, visit

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