Pat Nugent

Rosemont College Renames Art Gallery for PAFA Alumna

For 50 years, Professor Pat Nugent (Certificate ‘63) has been opening the minds of Rosemont College students to art.

“I’ve taught everything and I’ve learned a lot,” she said. “I’ve taught art history, Eastern Art, Medieval art and I’ve taught art education, teaching teachers how to teach art.”

In addition to teaching, Nugent has been Director of the Rosemont College Art Gallery since 1994. She’s curated countless exhibitions, including work by Leon Golub, Louise Nevelson, Georgia O’Keeffe, Helen Frankenthaler, Alice Neel, and Harry Bertoia.

In recognition of Nugent’s commitment to Rosemont College, the gallery is being renamed the Patricia M. Nugent Gallery.

Rosemont President Sharon L. Hirsh said, “For her dedication to artistic and academic excellence, her contributions to the Rosemont community, and her commitment, not just to the students of the College, but to the larger fine arts community, Rosemont College is pleased and proud to honor Pat Nugent with the fitting tribute of the naming of The Patricia M. Nugent Gallery.”

When she was told about the renaming, Nugent was touched. “I’m really honored and humbled because I never married or had kids and this is a great legacy.”

She says the honor is making her life come full-circle. While attending West Catholic Girls High School as a teen, Nugent said she dreamed of attending Rosemont College. But with a full scholarship and encouragement from her family, Nugent enrolled at PAFA.

“I didn’t want to go to an art school, although when I stayed I was very happy,” she said. “Initially I wanted to go to a liberal arts college and take art because I was interested in a lot of things and every course informs your painting.”

To balance her interests, Nugent enrolled in the PAFA/Penn Program and received a certificate from PAFA and a BFA from the University of Pennsylvania.

Even though it wasn’t the road she was expecting to take, coming to PAFA turned out to be the right choice for Nugent.

“I wanted to learn the underpinnings, to learn how to draw really well and learn how to paint really well,” she said.

The skills she learned at PAFA have taken her far. She received her MFA from the University of Guanajuato and shown her work on a local, national, and international level.

Nugent’s style has varied throughout the years but she is well known for her series of paintings featuring cows, applying her sense of humor to mixed media works and paintings, featuring her alter ego, the cow Elsie.

Even though it’s been 50 years since Nugent was a student at PAFA, she’ll be surrounded by friends from her days at “the academy” at the gallery renaming.

“When I was a student the only woman on staff then was Elizabeth Osborne. She taught her for almost 50 years and she’s coming to my party,” Nugent said. “It’s such a link to be here and care about what your friends care about and likewise. Everybody wants to be the best they can be at PAFA and I think that’s the legacy.”

—LeAnne Matlach (

About PAFA

Founded in 1805, the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts is the United States’ first school and museum of fine arts. A recipient of the National Medal of Arts, PAFA offers a world-class collection of American art, innovative exhibitions of historic and contemporary American art, and educational opportunities in the fine arts. The PAFA Museum aims to tell America's diverse story through art, expanding who has been included in the canon of art history through its collections, exhibitions, and public programs, while classes educate artists and appreciators with a deep understanding of traditions and the ability to challenge conventions. PAFA’s esteemed alumni include Mary Cassatt, Njideka Akunyili Crosby, William Glackens, Barkley L. Hendricks, Violet Oakley, Louis Kahn, David Lynch, and Henry Ossawa Tanner.