Alumni Awards

Alumni Association

PAFA's Alumni Association presents two annual alumni awards—the Distinguished Alumni Award and the Alumni Service Award—during the annual Commencement exercises.

Distinguished Alumni Award

The Distinguished Alumni Award is presented in recognition of outstanding artistic achievement. Collectively, recipients are intended to reflect the diversity of the alumni body. The Alumni Association established the award in 2003 and an icon familiar to all who have been formed by this institution: the Winged Victory of Samothrace. Since the Winged Victory, or Nike, entered PAFA's cast collection in 1894, thousands of American artists have learned basic skills in all disciplines by studying its subtleties. The Nike is a bridge and an inspiration to the future achievements of all alumni. The award was sculpted by longtime PAFA instructor Tony Visco, the bronze reduction of Nike is cast by PAFA students.

Alumni Service Award

The Alumni Service Award, established in 2015, is presented annually to alumni who have demonstrated a sustained history of service to the PAFA community. Collectively, recipients are intended to reflect the diversity of the alumni body.

Alumni Awards Nomination

Eligibility Requirements

Alumni of the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts are eligible to submit or have satisfactorily completed at least one academic year of any PAFA degree or certificate-granting programs:

  • BFA
  • MFA
  • Certificate
  • Post-Baccalaureate Certificate

Current PAFA students and alumni serving as faculty are not eligible.


Nominating period reopens in 2020.

Past Award Recipients

Distinguished Alumni Award

  • 2019 Jody Pinto '68
  • 2018 Quentin Morris '67
  • 2017 Anne Minich
  • 2016 Njideka Akunyili Crosby '06
  • 2015 James Havard '65
  • 2014 Raymond Saunders
  • 2013 Elizabeth Osborne '58
  • 2012 Clarence Morgan '78
  • 2011 Frank Bender
  • 2010 Orit Hofshi
  • 2009 Barkley L. Hendricks
  • 2008 Edna Andrade
  • 2007 Sarah McEneaney
  • 2006 Bill Scott
  • 2005 Louis B. Sloan
  • 2004 Arthur DeCosta
  • 2003 Ben Kamihira

Alumni Service Award

  • 2019 Astrid Bowlby '96
  • 2018 John Thornton '80
  • 2017 Lorraine Riesenbach '91
  • 2016 Rodger LaPelle '62
  • 2015 Hilarie Hawley

Alumni: Stay In Touch

As the first art museum and school in the United States, PAFA is proud of its 7,000 alumni across the globe, who continue to inspire the next generation of artists. 

Whether you're newly graduated or celebrating your 50th reunion, your connection to PAFA does not end upon graduation.

Create/Update Your Alumni Profile