Alfred University News

Professors Coral Lambert, Elizabeth Matson honored with Faculty Catalyst Award

Alfred University Professor of Sculpture Coral Lambert and Assistant Professor of Mathematics Elizabeth Matson recently were honored with the second Alfred University Catalyst Award in honor of Alfred University School of Art and Design Professor Emeritus Mary Lum.

The award was created to encourage a spirit of curiosity, empathy, and collegial partnership across campus. It honors a faculty member selected from the School of Art and Design and the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences who will create a joint project, celebrating the discovery of each other’s ideas, knowledges, and perspectives.

Matson and Lambert’s investigation will focus on hyperbolic planes and pseudo-spheres, a subject both are interested in as a surface to make tangible through visualization and material exploration. A public presentation of the work will be scheduled prior to the end of the spring 2024 semester.

The Mary Lum Catalyst Award honors former Art and Design Professor Mary Lum, who taught at Alfred from 1985 to 2005, before accepting a position at Bennington College, in Vermont. As an Alfred University SOAD professor, Lum was both a visible presence in the New York art world and a persistent voice for critical contemporary culture on campus, bringing artists, stories of exhibitions to Alfred and sending students and faculty to Paris through her coordination of the Cité Internationale Studio.

Lum energized generations of Alfred students with her introduction to studio traditions of color theory, painting, and drawing, and by modeling the life of an artist who continues to evolve because she is always looking. Her curiosity is visible in her photos documenting the arrangement of cars by color in the Wegman's parking lot, or her dozens of attempts to replicate a particular pink from the cover of a French book. Her work has been exhibited in numerous institutions and publications internationally including Mass MoCA, North Adams, MA; The Drawing Center, Modern Artifacts (Esopus and MoMA); deCordova Sculpture Park and Museum; and Oxford University, UK. Lum has been the recipient of numerous awards, including a Guggenheim Fellowship (2010), the Radcliffe Fellowship for Advanced Study (2004-2005, 2022), and a McDowell Fellowship (2018), among others.

The Mary Lum Catalyst Award is funded by Sandra Murchison (BFA '93), Michelle Siu (BA, Business School '92), Jeff Gillman (BS, Industrial Engineering, '91), Rebekah Modrak (BFA ‘92), Nick Tobier who taught Foundations in the Alfred University School of Art and Design until 2003, and the School of Art and Design and the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences Dean’s offices.

Individuals interested in supporting a future catalyst grant, should contact Lauren Lake, Dean of the School of Art and Design, or Bob Stein, Dean of the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences.