Alfred University News

Three Alfred University alumni honored at Board of Trustees dinner

Three Alfred University alumni were presented with Fiat Lux! Awards during the Board of Trustees dinner Friday evening, Oct. 21. Fiat Lux! Awards were established in 2016 as a way to honor those who bring distinction to the University.

ALFRED, NY – Three Alfred University alumni were presented with Fiat Lux! Awards during the Board of Trustees dinner Friday evening, Oct. 21. Fiat Lux! Awards were established in 2016 as a way to honor those who bring distinction to the University.

Those who were presented awards Friday were Elizabeth Lyons ’82, John Mauro ’01,’06 PhD, and Gabrielle Gaustad ’04. Mark Zupan, Alfred University president, noted the significance of the three being honored, as all share a connection to the glass program at Alfred.

“This year is the United Nations International Year of Glass, which we have been celebrating for some time. Tonight we recognize three individuals—glass science and art graduates—with Fiat Lux! Awards,” said Zupan, who presented the three honorees. After a citation was read for each, the honorees made brief remarks.

Lyons, who earned a B.F.A. from Alfred University, with a concentration in sculpture, is founder and owner of More Fire Glass studio and gallery in Rochester, NY. She is the daughter of Alfred University alumni, the late Nathan Lyons ’57 and Joan Lyons ’57, both accomplished photographers and art educators.

More Fire Glass was founded by Lyons in 1998. After retiring from a 21-year teaching career in the Rochester City School District, Lyons turned her attention full time to her studio practice. More Fire Glass has enjoyed continued growth and success since its founding nearly a quarter century ago. Two fellow Alfred University alumni—Jen Schinzing ’04 and Mike Krupiarz ’05—share studio space at More Fire Glass, which in 2016 moved to its current location on Field Street in Rochester.

Lyons serves a variety of clients, including architects, interior designers, and retail showrooms. Elizabeth’s glass art has been featured in national publications such as Vogue and Town and Country magazines, and the New York Times. Her work has been exhibited in museums, is part of permanent collections, and has been sold in major retail stores like Barneys, Bergdorf Goodman, and Holly Hunt. A large chandelier she created, made from glass magnolia blossoms attached to a forged metal frame, adorns the lobby of the Arca Hotel in Hong Kong.

“Driving into town, I was flooded with memories, not just from when I started school here. My parents were so deeply connected to this place,” Lyons said. She recalled her first year at Alfred, taking the Foundations course required of all first-year art students.

“Foundations was so hard and challenging and intimidating,” she said. “It was that first year that made all the difference in my teaching and in my work.”

Mauro earned bachelor’s degrees in glass science and computer science, and a doctoral degree in glass science engineering from Alfred University. A professor of materials science and associate head of Graduate Education in the Department of Materials Science and Engineering at Penn State University, Mauro is a world-recognized expert in fundamental and applied glass science, statistical mechanics, computational and condensed matter physics, thermodynamics, and the topology of disordered networks. He the author of over 300 peer-reviewed publications and has given over 300 presentations at international conferences and seminars.

Mauro is a member of the National Academy of Engineering and a fellow of the American Ceramic Society (ACerS) and the National Academy of Inventors. Prior to joining the faculty at Penn State in 2017, John was senior research manager in the Glass Research Department at Corning Inc. While at Corning, he invented or co-invented several new glass compositions for Corning, including Gorilla Glass, a thin, durable, touch-sensitive cover glass that is used in billions of cellphones, tablets, and touch-screen devices worldwide.

“It’s good to be home again,” said Mauro, a native of nearby Almond, NY. He spoke of the importance of a sound education, which he received at Alfred.

“The greatest gift we can give the next generation is a great education. Alfred University has been doing this for more than 175 years,” he said. “The world has so many problems. They can all be addressed through education.”

Since 2019, Gaustad has been dean of Alfred University’s Inamori School of Technology. Renewables and sustainability have been a focus of Gabby’s career since she graduated from Alfred University with a bachelor’s degree in ceramic engineering. She also earned a doctorate in materials science and engineering from Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 2009.

Gaustad was instrumental in the creation of the Center for Glass Innovation (CGI) at Alfred University. The nation-leading collaboration between New York State and Alfred University aims to bolster markets for recycled glass and improve the quality of glass available for recovery throughout the state. A significant emphasis of the CGI is on reducing the glass manufacturing industry’s carbon footprint. The Center’s first major initiative—a collaboration with the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation—is using funding from the state’s Environmental Protection Fund to research ways New York State-based glass manufacturers can increase their utilization of recycled glass feedstock. The work is expected to result in a significant reduction in the amount of glass currently going to landfills, specifically by improving the quality of glass cullet for reuse and recovery.

“This means so much to me…2022 has been a blast, working with the glass community, it’s been an amazing year,” Gaustad commented, saying she developed her passion for recycling and sustainability while studying at Alfred.  She noted that this year marks the 90th year of Alfred University’s glass science program, which was established in the New York State College of Ceramics in 1932.

“It has been amazing what has happened here over the last 90 years. I’m so excited for what we’ll be doing over the next 90,” Gaustad said. She thanked L. David Pye ’59, ’68 PhD, emeritus professor of glass science, who attended Friday’s dinner. Pye spearheaded efforts to lobby the UN to designate 2022 the International Year of Glass. “We wouldn't be celebrating glass without all his work.”