RISD Alumni Newsletter
April 2023
Alumni Newsletter — April 2023
Announcing the 2023 Alumni Award Honorees

We received many supportive and enthusiastic nominations for this year's Alumni Association Awards. It is wonderful to see how your pride in your fellow alumni shines through. The awards committee carefully reviewed your submissions, and we are excited to share the names of this year's honorees!  

Congratulations to our 2023 Alumni Association Award Winners:

      Julia Rothman 02 IL
      Helen Adelia Rowe Metcalf Visionary Award

      Jonsara Ruth 92 ID
      Art & Design Educator Award

      Andy Chen MFA 13 GD
      Emerging Leader Award

      Nafis M. White 15 SC MFA 18 PR
      RISD Serves Award

We are also thrilled to announce that an Alumni Awards Wall is being installed on campus to publicly recognize over 60 years of Alumni Association Awards honoring our community. We hope you will join us on June 3 as we dedicate the wall over Commencement + Reunion Weekend.

Alumni Association Awards

Touba Ghadessi
RISD Names Touba Ghadessi Provost

Following an extensive international search, RISD is pleased to announce the appointment of Touba Ghadessi as provost, effective July 10, 2023. Ghadessi is currently the provost and a professor of the history of art at Wheaton College in Norton, MA.

RISDmade for May
RISDmade for May

Spring is here! As if we need another excuse to browse the bright and beautiful works on RISDmade. Whether spring cleaning has you in the mood for something fresh or you want to honor a special mom, we have you covered!

Big Tree
Lecture & Book Signing with Brian Selznick 88 IL

May 3, 2023

The Alumni Association, Fleet Library at RISD and the RISD Illustration Department invite you to a special lecture and book signing with Brian Selznick 88 IL to celebrate his latest book, Big Tree.

Passive Pollination
At the Museum: Passive Pollination

On view through October 22

Winner of the 2023 Dorner Prize, Passive Pollination by Claudia Peck MLA 25 invites viewers to observe and enjoy bees and other pollinators at work in a landscaping installation outside the RISD Museum on Benefit Street.

Alumni Keynote
Reunion Weekend: Alumni Keynote Speaker

June 1, 2023

Julia Rothman 02 IL, the 2023 Helen Adelia Rowe Metcalf Visionary Award honoree, will kick off this year’s reunion weekend as our keynote speaker in a live conversation with Illustration faculty member Robert Brinkerhof.

Fleet Library Alumni Collection
Fleet Library Alumni Collection

The Fleet Library at RISD Alumni Collection celebrates RISD’s creative publishing community. The collection features books and other materials, including art and design, fiction, children’s literature, food, memoirs, social justice and more.

Fatema Maswood
Five Questions: Fatema Maswood

RISD’s second “Race in Art & Design” cohort began teaching this past fall. Focused on race, colonization, decolonization, post-coloniality, cultural representation and material practices of resistance, they have graciously agreed to share their unique pedagogical approaches in this series of Q&As.

Photo of RISD flag outside historic building
A new tool for alumni

RISD has partnered with FreeWill to help alumni create an estate plan this spring—100% for free! Your plan can protect the people and causes you love, and even inspire future generations of RISD students to pursue their passions.


Are you planning to be in New York for NYCxDesign May 18-25? We'd love to know if you are exhibiting or presenting at any shows or exhibitions! Share your plans with us and maybe we will see you there.

Photo of Cordoba, Spain
Alumni Travel: Spain and Italy

We are announcing our 2024 trips soon, but while you wait, there is still plenty to explore with the remainder of our 2023 trips. Up next: Italy’s magnificent lake district and the beauty of southern Spain.

Upcoming Events


RISD Museum Gallery Night Providence
April 20


Landscape Architecture Department Student & Alumni Reception
April 27


Club of Rhode Island Monthly Meetup at Riffraff
April 27


Club of Boston Live Drawing at Jameson & Thompson Picture Framers
April 27


Brian Selznick 88 IL Lecture & Book Signing
May 3


Club of New York City Artist Talk: Drew Dodge at 1969 Gallery
May 4


Club of SE Michigan Humanize the Numbers at the Detroit Historical Museum
May 6


Club of Austin Family-Friendly Party at the Ranch
May 6


RISD Museum Virtual Family See & Sketch
May 6


Club of Los Angeles Show & Tell at Peace Awareness Labyrinth & Gardens
May 10


Club of Silicon Valley Rodin Tour & Live Drawing at Cantor Arts Center
May 13


RISD Women in Business Leadership Innovation Roundtable
May 23

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Image credits: Woods-Gerry and RISD flag by Jo Sittenfeld MFA 08 PH; Touba-Ghadessi portrait by Cat Laine; RISDmade: Found Fibers by Elise Pelletier 13 AP; Lumpshop by Alina Buevich 14 GD; Studio Den Den by Jillian Wiedenmayer BArch 12; Brooklyn Bunny by Kate Johnson 95 GD; Hinge Designs by Margaret Hinge 11 JM; Big Tree courtesy of Brian Selznick 88 IL; Julia Rothman courtesy of Julia Rothman 02 IL; Marco Goes to School by Roz Chast 77 PT; Fatema Maswood courtesy of Fatema Maswood; Spain photo courtesy of AHI Travel.

Alumni + Family Relations
Rhode Island School of Design
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