CCAD Alumni Awards

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Columbus College of Art & Design graduates are changing culture and commerce, making a major impact in Columbus and far beyond. Each year, CCAD recognizes a select few with alumni awards, which are presented to winners in November.

Alumni Award nominations for 2021 are closed.

See the 2020 CCAD Alumni Awards 

2020 award winners

Columbus College of Art & Design graduates make work that changes the world. They create businesses (and make significant contributions to existing ones), lead nonprofits, excel in their creative practices, and help guide the next generation of artists and designers. (That’s just the start, of course.) Every year, we honor a selection of our outstanding alumni with Alumni Awards. Members of the CCAD family and general public can nominate an alum for the recognition in the categories of Joseph V. Canzani Alumni Award for Excellence, Arts Educator, Commitment to Service, Creative Entrepreneur, and Emerging Leader. The 2020 Alumni Award winners, who will be honored in a private, online event in November 2020, are: 


william potter portrait
Photograph taken by Iman Pirzadeh

Arts Educator Award 

William Potter (Fine Arts, 1995) is the Associate Dean of Faculty Affairs and Professor of Foundation Studies at the Herron School of Art and Design at Indiana University and Purdue University (IUPUI) in Indianapolis. He received his BFA in Fine Arts from CCAD in 1995 and his MFA in Painting from the University of Cincinnati in 1997. He has exhibited his work throughout the United States and internationally in the UK, Germany, and Australia. Potter regularly lectures nationally on teaching methods especially as they relate to foundations curricula. He was the Vice President for the Biennial Conference for the 2015 FATE Biennial conference, “Tectonic/Shifts.”

Can you tell us a little bit about your work?

I am interested in abstraction. I create hybrid forms that are informed by my love of both painting and sculpture. I see the working process as a form of conceptual engagement. As I am working in the studio, I am making abstract ideas physical. I see thinking as tied to structure. My constructed paintings become a tangible form that mirrors the structure of thinking. The paintings evolve, shift, and re-contextualize like a thought does. I am inspired directly by the process, the form, and the beauty of abstract relationships.

What lessons or experiences from your time at CCAD influence the work you create today?

To say that I am thankful for my education at CCAD would be quite the understatement. There is a direct thread of knowledge that I pass onto my students at Herron that originated from the professors that I studied under. When I speak to my students, I often hear the words of my formal professors Ronald Augustus, Gordon Lee, Charles Herndon, Neil Riley, Peter Rasmussen, and Carol Griffith. I developed my love of form, craft, and theory from them. While at CCAD, I received a Pell Grant and was a work-study student at the sculpture lab. It was my experience there assisting my professors that I began to think that I might also love teaching art.

What advice do you have for current students? For recent alumni?

There is said to be a curse, “May you live in interesting times.” And we are all living definitely in interesting times. As a creative ask yourself, how can you face this moment with tools you have gathered from CCAD? Your skills are needed now more than ever! The creative act can heal, restore and reveal.

Cultivate your community of fellow creatives. CCAD has a creative community built into its DNA. Right now, the CCAD creative community might be dispersed either due to moving online (for current students) or graduation (for alumni). Make attempts to reach out to one another and to keep nurturing your community.

What does it mean for you to be recognized with this Alumni Award?

I am very honored to receive CCAD’s Arts Educator Alumni Award as it also honors all of my dear mentors at the Columbus College of Art & Design. Looking over the list of previous CCAD alumni awardees, I am incredibly proud to be listed aside with them. In many ways, I am encouraged by the award, and in the CCAD tradition I am feeling pushed to do more and better work in the studio and classroom (especially in this COVID-19 year). 

Follow William Potter on Instagram or visit his website

krista sison working

Commitment to Service Award 

Krista Sison (Fashion Design, 2013) runs Multitudes Studio, through which she leads sustainability initiatives, and works full-time as a Digital Designer for the trendsetting lingerie line Savage X Fenty, founded by singer, actress, and entertainer Rihanna. A multidisciplinary designer living in Los Angeles, California, Sison designs creatively for brands during the week, and works to protect people and the planet on nights and weekends.

Can you tell us a little bit about your work?

I work full-time as a Digital Designer for Savage X Fenty and work freelance creating graphics for other companies and productions. Mostly, I care the most about the side to my side hustle--Multitudes Studio. Multitudes is my Instagram platform where I share knowledge about sustainability in terms of anything you could think of ... fashion, plastic, technology, social issues, etc. Through Multitudes, I create program initiatives for my audience to participate in with me (like The Plastic Project or our Nothing New wardrobe challenge) as well as host events such as the Sustainable Summer BBQ or bi-annual clothing swaps. (All were happening pre-COVID, but now I'm resting, reading and learning A LOT!)

What lessons or experiences from your time at CCAD influence the work you create today?

Two things: 1.) the Diversity Retreat. 2.) being an Orientation Leader under (former Director of Student Activities) Jason Bowser. When I came to CCAD, I wasn't very happy initially, and those two things made me realize that the reason why I left my original school was because they don't understand the importance and power behind community. Being an Orientation Leader at CCAD and learning how to welcome people who might have once felt shy, left out or outcast in any way changed my entire outlook on my time in college. And outside of school, it taught me how to serve people.

What advice do you have for current students? For recent alumni?

Work as hard as you can toward self-awareness. Self-awareness gives you a lot of clarity on your purpose in life, and when something doesn't fit into that, it's easier to let go and say no. Also, for recent alumni, experience is important!! Stop trying to take shortcuts; learn the long way. Things are definitely not what they seem on the internet, and most of the people who seem to have EVERYTHING, are usually the ones who have it the least together. I've seen that a lot, especially here in LA.

What does it mean for you to be recognized with this Alumni Award?

I was really surprised, but very honored. It gets exhausting having a side hustle to your side hustle, so it was uplifting too! Especially when you're talking about ideas that are very challenging to the human conscience. No matter how much it might be "trending" right now, sustainability is currently counter-cultural and confrontational. And I'm not talking about grocery totes, organic tees, surface-level sustainability, I'm talking about deep-rooted consumption issues and systemic sustainability.

When I think about it, this is how my parents raised me. I'm Filipino and grew up Catholic, so servanthood has ALWAYS been ingrained in me since I came into this world. I'm really thankful for it, honestly. Because my goal is to flip the world on its head and make people think about what they do, not just go along with what everyone else is doing.

Follow Krista Sison on Instagram or visit

emily and brian portraits

Creative Entrepreneur Award 

Emily Kellett (Industrial Design, 2016) and Brian Kellett (Media Studies Still-Based, 2007) are co-owners and co-founders of STUMP, a retail store specializing in houseplants and plant accessories. The pair launched STUMP in 2015, starting with one location in Columbus’ Italian Village neighborhood. In the years since, they’ve opened up a second location in Columbus (German Village) and added STUMP locations to Philadelphia and Savannah, Georgia, bringing their total number of stores to five. Their background in art and design has helped them create shops that are a fresh take on a retail garden store. Through building a system of training employees, who in turn educate each customer, they find much of their success comes from passing on accurate plant care information to their customers.

Can you tell us a little bit about your work?

With five locations, our work has transitioned to a point where our primary role is to refine, redesign, and consider what the future of our shops look like. The nature of this work varies daily from mundane trips to the hardware store to visiting new cities and falling in love with spaces that we find for future shop locations. We are very fortunate to have a wonderful team of ten employees who help us share our vision with our customers.

What lessons or experiences from your time at CCAD influence the work you create today?

The most influential experience for me was the SHIFT project via the MindMarket (now known as Corporate & Community Partnerships) for AmericanHort (led by Doug Sapp). This project directly opened our eyes to the many areas of potential growth and change in the horticulture industry. During this project I was able to apply skills I learned from Industrial Design Assistant Professor John Youger’s design research course, which are some of the same skills we use today in our business.

Brian: When I studied at CCAD one of the most powerful lessons I learned from my professors was the importance of networking and actively seeking criticism from those who have more experience or a different perspective from my own. I still recall feeling out of my “comfort zone” when I volunteered to be a photo assistant for the late fashion photographer Scott Cunningham, who was then an adjunct faculty member at CCAD. His brutal honesty pushed me to work harder and I still value that today as a leader.

What advice do you have for current students? For recent alumni?

For students: Show up early and stay late. Put in extra time while you are surrounded by instructors and CCAD staff who have the skills that you aspire to have yourself. Take advantage of all the amazing resources that you have and push yourself to try out different mediums that might not be directly related to your major.

For recent alumni, remember that many of the best jobs don't pay as much as you would hope but the life experience will be far more rewarding for your future career. Brian’s example: When I started working as a designer, social media, and overall brand manager for a startup brewery I would pull all-nighters and work as many hours as I could for only $300 per month. While the pay was low I was able to get to know many of Columbus’ food/beverage scene leaders while gaining new skills that helped us start STUMP.

What does it mean for you to be recognized with this Alumni Award?

When we reflect on our time at CCAD we are both grateful to have an education that gave us the tools to problem solve in the way that we do today. Winning this award is truly an honor to know that the CCAD staff and award committee value & respect the hard work that we have put in since we graduated.

Follow STUMP on Instagram or visit

Lalese Stamps portrait

Emerging Leader Award 

Lalese “Lolly” Stamps (Advertising & Graphic Design, 2017) is a Columbus-based multidisciplinary designer with a focus in ceramics. In September 2019, Stamps embarked on her 100 Day Project, which saw her make 100 mugs, each with a different-style handle, over a 100-day period. The challenging project brought her attention for innovation in approach and stylish designs. In addition to mugs, Stamps, Founder of Lolly Lolly Ceramics, makes bowls, plates, and planters; her work has caught the attention of such major publications as Architectural Digest, British Vogue, Sight Unseen, Dwell, and many others. Stamps designs objects that are functional at their core, simple in shape, and capable of withstanding the test of time.

Can you tell us a little bit about your work?

Lolly Lolly Ceramics are primarily made from stoneware, but I also love to explore pieces made from porcelain and terracotta. Lolly pieces tend to be very dynamic, simple, and playful; heavily inspired by my approach to graphic design. I’m known for the matte black mug handles from my 100 Day Project, but I’m looking forward to introducing more textures and colors into future collections.

What lessons or experiences from your time at CCAD influence the work you create today?

Efficiency is really important in the work that I do. It's something that was implemented constantly during my studies at CCAD. Learning shortcuts and delegating tasks to help streamline my process was so important when I was studying graphic design and it's something that I practice daily in my ceramics business.

What advice do you have for current students? For recent alumni?

Always to be your biggest advocate. You have to believe in yourself the most. Not everyone is going to understand what you are doing, let alone support it. For those times when it does get tough, having a network of like-minded people is invaluable.

What does it mean for you to be recognized with this Alumni Award?

I know how much of an influence my 100 Day Project has been to so many people, so to be recognized as a leader in my community is really an honor. It empowers me to continue what I'm doing and to push even harder to create and share new things with the world. 

Follow Lolly Lolly Ceramics on Instagram or visit

douglas bell portrait

Joseph V. Canzani Alumni Award for Excellence 

Douglas Bell (Illustration, 1989) was born in 1967 and grew up in Vandalia, Ohio. After receiving his undergraduate degree from CCAD in 1989, he began an art career creating illustrations for Harley-Davidson licensed apparel. He moved to Kansas City in 1997 and began a successful 22-year career at Hallmark Cards, Inc. Now self-employed, Bell’s desire to begin more intensive learning has prompted him to begin working towards an MFA in Illustration at the University of Hartford Art School under the direction of C.F. Payne.

Can you tell us a little bit about your work?

I am a digital artist who works in a technique that emulates scratchboard. Drawing is one of the first ways I learned to express my thoughts. It is primal as well as emotional, and when successful, there is nothing more satisfying or magical as the communication between an artist and a viewer.

My first book, illustrations for Mary Shelly’s Frankenstein, will be released in the fall of 2020 via Easton Press. Some of my clients include Ornamental Publishing LLC, IAMS, NCAA, Abrams Publishing, Harley-Davidson, and Hallmark Cards.

What lessons or experiences from your time at CCAD influence the work you create today?

“The only thing taking a risk in your work is the paper.”—late CCAD Illustration Professor Mark Hazlerig

“Execution always follows vision.”—late CCAD Illustration Professor Mark Hazlerig

What advice do you have for current students? For recent alumni?

A music student opens up to their instructor about their own frustrations with music. “The music always sounds so much better in my head than when I try to play it.” The instructor responds simply, “What makes you think that ever changes?”—Art & Fear by David Bayles and Ted Orland

Don’t worry too much about finding your style. Style is a result of habit.

Never stop being a student of art, most people stop making art when they stop being a student.

What does it mean for you to be recognized with this Alumni Award?

I am honored to be recognized by the alumni and the faculty of the Columbus College of Art & Design as a recipient of the Joseph V. Canzani Alumni Award for Excellence. I sincerely want to thank all of those involved. It has been and continues to be my goal to honor those instructors who have a positive difference in the lives and careers of the art. Thank you to those individuals involved in my nomination: Bryan Ballinger, Chris Lensch, Dale Herron, Benjamin Exworthy, Erika Gable (Associate Vice President for Development), Tom Gattis (Dean of Undergraduate Studies), Nicole Monahan (Director of Corporate & Community Projects), Chris Mundell (Vice President for Institutional Engagement), Dr. Jen Schlueter (Dean of Graduate Studies), Tiffany Sperring (Director of Career Services), and Julie Taggart (Provost).

Find Doug Bell on Instagram, Facebook, and Behance; visit his website.

  • 2019 Manjari Sharma (Media Studies, Photography, 2004) Canzani Award for Excellence
  • 2019 Bob Barner (Illustration Major, Advertising Minor, 1970) Core Values Award
  • 2019 Michael G. Manes (BFA Painting/Art History, 2009) Emerging Leader Award
  • 2019 Soo Sunny Park (Fine Arts, 1998) Arts Educator Award
  • 2019 Susana Madrid (Fashion Design, 2010) Creative Entrepreneur Award
  • 2019 Paul Richmond (Illustration, 2002) Committment to Service Award
  • 2018 Tony West (Illustration, 1989) Canzani Award for Excellence
  • 2018 AG Ford (Illustration, 2007) Core Values Award
  • 2018 Ali Prater (Advertising & Graphic Design, 2013) Emerging Leader Award
  • 2018 Aubrey Jewel Rodgers (Time-Based Media, 2000) Arts Educator Award
  • 2018 Sugandh G. Agrawal (Industrial Design, 2005) Creative Entreprenuer Award
  • 2018 Michael McFalls (Fine Arts, 1998) Commitment to Service Award
  • 2017 Michael Flechtner (Fine Arts, 1981) Canzani Award for Excellence
  • 2017 Colleen Clark (Illustration, 2014) Emerging Leader Award
  • 2017 Marshall Shorts (Industrial Design & Advertising & Graphic Design, 2006) Commitment to Service Award
  • 2017 Jon Keith Swindell (Illustration, 1973) Arts Educator Award
  • 2017 Paula Froehle (Fine Arts, 1987) Creative Entrepreneur Award
  • 2016 Derek Fansler (Fine Arts, 1995)
  • 2015 Steven Hubbard (Time Based Media Studies, 2010)
  • 2014 Inka Essenhigh (Fine Arts, 1991)
  • 2013 Chad Hunt (Photography, 1994)
  • 2012 Dan Scanlon (Illustration, 1998)
  • 2011 Nathan Greno (Illustration, 1996)
  • 2010 Rosanne Percivalle (Illustration, 1980) 
  • 2009 Aaron Szymanski (Industrial Design, 1991)
  • 2008 Joan Hall (Fine Arts, 1974)
  • 2007 Ron Tsang (Industrial Design, 1983)
  • 2006 Jeff Link (Advertising & Graphic Design, 1969) (awarded posthumously)
  • 2003 William "BJ" Van de Velde (Advertising & Graphic Design, 1961)
  • 2002 Charles O'Connor (Industrial Design, 1962)
  • 2001 Dean Mitchell (Illustration, 1980)
  • 2000 Edmund Kuehn (Fine Arts, 1938)
  • 1999 Wucius Wong (1965)
  • 1994 Dean Mitchell (Illustration, 1980)
  • 1994 James C. Lutz (Advertising & Graphic Design, 1978)
  • 1994 Linzy Randolph
  • 1993 Mary Lou Alpert (1956 – 60)
  • 1992 Ruth Anne Johnson (Illustration, 1965 – 70)
  • 1992 Chris Snell (Advertising & Graphic Design, 1972)
  • 1991 Daniel Thomas Chrzanowski (Illustration, 1970)
  • 1991 George Gaadt (Illustration, 1966)
  • 1991 Dean Kette (1959)
  • 1991 George Kinney
  • 1991 Ann Rothan (Fine Arts, 1992)
  • 1990 Arthur Klemushin (Illustration, 1966)
  • 1990 Doug Anderson (Illustration, 1942) 
  • 1990 Ming Fay (Industrial Design, 1965)
  • 1990 James F. Lutz (Advertising & Graphic Design, 1978)
  • 1990 Beverly Jane Niffenegger (Advertising & Graphic Design, 1977)
  • 1990 Marcia Tabler (Retail Advertising, 1974)
  • 1989 Kenneth Batista (Fine Arts, 1975)
  • 1989 Robert Bender (Advertising & Graphic Design, 1966)
  • 1989 George Radway (Fine Arts, 1938)
  • 1989 Clyde Singer (1934)
  • 1989 Wucius Wong (1965)
  • 1988 Stanley Ray Corfman (Advertising & Graphic Design, 1960)
  • 1988 James Grimes (Industrial Design, 1963)
  • 1988 Margaret Lynn (1935)
  • 1988 Thomas O'Donnell (1955)
  • 1988 Jack Shinn (Fine Arts, 1942)
  • 1988 Marilyn Skeffington (Advertising & Graphic Design, 1969)
  • 1987 Frank Hoffelt
  • 1987 Dorothy Neill (1937)
  • 1987 Charles O'Connor (Industrial Design, 1962)
  • 1987 Bernard Stockwell (Industrial Design, 1948)
  • 1987 B. J. Van de Velde (Advertising & Graphic Design, 1961)
  • 1982 Jerry McDaniel (Illustration, 1957)