Alfred University News

Alfred University senior recipient of Thayer Fellowship

Emma Hildebrandt, a senior in Alfred University’s School of Art and Design, is a recipient of the 2019 Thayer Fellowship in the Arts.


ALFRED, NY – Emma Hildebrandt, a senior in Alfred University’s School of Art and Design, is a recipient of the 2019 Thayer Fellowship in the Arts.

The Thayer Fellowship is awarded each year to an outstanding candidate for graduation from a SUNY institution, selected for talent, achievement, and potential as a professional artist. It is meant to serve as a bridge between study at SUNY and first‑time entry into a professional career in the creative or performing arts: namely music, theater, dance, film and video, creative writing, and the visual arts.

Emma and two other Thayer Fellowship recipients will share an $8,000 award.

Stephanie McMahon, professor of painting and drawing, nominated Emma, a painting/video art major set to receive her B.F.A. degree in May, for the Thayer Fellowship.

“Emma is one of the most exceptional students I have ever worked with in our program. She is a natural leader, strongly motivated, community oriented, and deeply committed to her studio practice,” McMahon wrote. “I have no doubt that she will pursue art throughout her life. Her engagement inside and outside of the studio speaks to her commitment to move forward in the arts upon graduation.”

Emma is involved in several activities outside the studio, which reflect her commitment to the arts. She is director of Critical Cinema, a student led film club, and she has served as vice president and media representative for the Painting Club. She has also been an organizer for campus events such as Feminist Art: Continuing the Construction of Voice and Water for Haiti: Wanderlust, a fundraiser and art auction. She has a background in modern dance and has choreographed and participated in many performances at Alfred University.

Emma is the daughter of Thomas and Melinda Hildebrandt of Pine Bush, NY, and is a graduate of Pine Bush Central High School.

The Thayer Fellowship was established in 1985-86 by the late Walter N. Thayer, Chairman of Whitney Communications, New York City, in honor of his wife, Jeanne C. Thayer, who was a SUNY trustee from 1974-84 and an active supporter of the arts. The Thayers wanted to assist SUNY's most talented young artists at the most difficult period of time for a young professional, when the struggle to make a living can overwhelm even the most dedicated individual. The fellowship helps the artist take advantage of important opportunities.