Meet your Alumni Council: PCA&D establishes its first alumni advisory body

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Wednesday, October 13th, 2021

After nearly 40 years, Pennsylvania College of Art & Design and its predecessors have long had an unofficial network of graduates. But there’s been no official way for alumni to benefit from College initiatives — or for current students to learn from the ever-growing network of PCA&D alumni.

As of this year, that’s all changed.

“A vital element of PCA&D’s College community, alumni now are an official part of helping to guide the College moving forward,” says Todd Snovel, the College’s Vice President, Student Affairs & Community Engagement.

PCA&D’s first-ever Alumni Council, which officially kicked off in July, currently has four primary points of focus:

  • Support of current students;
  • Planning alumni and networking events and gatherings;
  • Building a participation pipeline (collecting demographic info and choosing alumni to serve in various roles); and
  • Fundraising and merchandise.

The inaugural members include Megan Caruso ’08, Nicole Denzler ’21, Olivia DiFilippo ’17, Wendy Faust ’87, Randall Lear ’11, Joe Palumbo ’08,  Larissa Ramey ’19, Tiffany Rodriguez ’19, and Jason Rumpff ’10. Any alumni who are interested in learning more, or in connecting with Alumni Council, are invited to contact Snovel at tsnovel@pcad.edu.

PCA&D, meet your Alumni Council:

Nicole Denzler ’21

PCA&D major: Photography & Video

Nicole Denzler '21, Photography & Video, Alumni Council 2021-

Nicole Denzler

Lives: Lancaster, PA
How have you built creativity and art-making into your life? I have used my photography skills taught to me to start working at Saks Fifth Avenue.
Why did you join the Alumni Council? To help the younger artists achieve their goals and be a voice for them.
A strong PCA&D memory is: Eric Weeks asked me to talk to a sophomore about fashion photography and I was honored to give them the advice I have.
What’s a lesson from PCA&D that you’ve incorporated into life? Always back up your photos.
What is a strength of the College? PCA&D is a small college so there is room for relationships
Website: nicoledenzler.com
Instagram: @denzle.r

Wendy J. Faust (Grove) ’87

PCA&D major: Communication Arts

headshot of Wendy Faust '87, Communication Arts, Alumni Council 2021

Wendy Faust

Lives: Elizabethtown, PA

How have you built creativity and art-making into your life? I do a little freelancing on the side, volunteering time to maintain Facebook groups, pages, designing.

Why did you join Alumni Council? (I have a) vested interest in the success of the continuation of PCA&D

A strong PCA&D memory is: Well, my memories are from Pennsylvania School of the Arts, when the school resided in Marietta, Pa. The class size, teacher-to-student ratio, was wonderful!

What’s a lesson from PSA that you’ve incorporated into life? Being organized, working within project parameters.

What is a strength of the College? Focusing on the creative first and foremost.


Randall Lear ’11

PCA&D major: Fine Art

Lives: East Berlin, Pa.

headshot of Randall Lear '11, Fine Art, Alumni Council 2021

Randall Lear

How have you built creativity and art-making into your life? I am an active adjunct professor at Penn State Harrisburg teaching painting and drawing. Currently I make work in my basement studio, but I am between ideas now (still making work, but no clear direction). It has been an interesting and confusing time for me to make work.

Why did you join the Alumni Council? There was a sense of community that I got from PCA&D that I did not get from any other art institution. I wanted to engage with that once again.

A strong PCA&D memory is: Not really a particular memory, but a section of time that happened in the fall senior thesis course. The professor, Dave Snyder, would make his rounds giving each student a personalized critique, then he would sit near the door when he was not helping students. Andrew Allison and I each had a studio near that door, and he would converse with us while we made art. It was something that always stuck with me.

What’s a lesson from PCA&D that you’ve incorporated into life? Art reflects life when it is authentic.

What is a strength of the College? Community.

Website: randalllear.com


Joe Palumbo

PCA&D major: Illustration

Lives: Lancaster

How have you built creativity and art-making into your life? My work has appeared on comic book covers, graphic novels, magazines, private collections, and in galleries throughout the USA — most notably, a wrap-around book cover for the award-winning book “Beach Pulp” by Cat & Mouse Press.  Most recently, in an upcoming trade paperback comic book, “Shi no Kage”, from Blackbox Comics. I also travel to a number of comic book and pop culture conventions throughout the year to sell my work.  Lastly, I run Grandview Gallery in West Lawn, Pa.  It is a professional art gallery in Wilson High School’s Administration Building. Grandview Gallery hosts professional and student artists during the school year.

headshot of Joe Palumbo Alumni Council 2021

Joe Palumbo

Why did you join the Alumni Council? My journey really started when I joined PCA&D’s Development Committee five years ago, and what intrigued me the most was bringing our alumni together. After graduation, one of the things I really missed was talking art every day in class and critiquing each other’s work to help one another grow as artists.  It’s very rewarding to help create the Alumni Council five years later after a lot of ground work to reconnect all of us.

A strong PCA&D memory is: I loved all the guest speakers that came into the college.  Whether the speaker worked in my major or not it didn’t matter to me, and I tried to make it to every speaker. Hearing their stories and advice was really insightful.

What’s a lesson from PCA&D that you’ve incorporated into life? Meet your deadlines.  The earlier the better.

What is a strength of the College? PCA&D is an intimate but strong college with a city and county for its campus.  The class sizes are perfect, and you have the support from the PCA&D community inside and outside of the college.

Instagram, Twitter, Facebook: @joempalumbo

Larissa Ramey ’19

PCA&D major: Photography & Video

Lives: Arkansas.

How have you built creativity and art-making into your life? I have the opportunity to work in a museum for children that is built on the foundation and curiosity of STEAM! I am pursuing my MFA in Photography at the University of Arkansas. I am a Graduate Assistant at the university and I work with the performing arts community. I know that having photography as my passion keeps me discovering new creative experiences daily, which is amazing!

headshot of Larissa Ramey '19, PHotography & Video, Alumni Council 2021

Larissa Ramey

Why did you join the Alumni Council? To continue the outreach that can spark a strong, diverse, collaborative community.

A strong PCA&D memory is: My strongest memories are Artist Visits, Senior Shows, and being able to interact with great colleagues and professors who helped shaped my undergrad experience.

What’s a lesson from PCA&D that you’ve incorporated into life?  I have incorporated going into your field with confidence in yourself and your work. PCA&D students are a supportive community that grows together.

What is a strength of the College? Industry-leading faculty; location is a great way to go into the community to make connections; and class trips together are great building and real-world experiences.

Website: https://larissaramey.visura.co/

Instagram: @larissa.ramey 

Tiffany Rodriguez ’19

PCA&D major: Illustration

Lives: Hanover, Maryland

How have you built creativity and art-making into your life? I don’t think I’ve ever had to build creativity into my life, I’ve always been drawing since I was a baby Tiff. That’s why I pursued going to art school in the first place; I just  love illustrating and even if I didn’t make it to PCA&D, I would still be an artist.

headshot of Tiffany Rodriguez '19, Illustration, Alumni Council 2021

Tiffany Rodriguez

Why did you join the Alumni Council? I like the idea of staying in touch with the school and being a part of the coterie that surrounds it.

A strong PCA&D memory is: the night of the 24-Hour Comic Book Day I was ready to get to work; I had my written outline done, rough layouts done, but ended up watching VeggieTale Silly Songs with friends until I passed out. Not the most productive day, yeah, but I had fun!

What’s a lesson from PCA&D that you’ve incorporated into life? The lesson that has stuck with me is a pretty simple one but important regardless: In order to grow as an artist, you have to make art. Whether that’s spending time on a detailed piece, or working on a study, or trying a new medium, everything that you make is making you a better artist. Period.

What is a strength of the College? I believe the student body as a whole is one of PCA&D’s greatest strengths. My class really went above and beyond to create spaces where we could critique our work respectfully, encourage each other, create opportunities to grow as professional creatives, and cultivate a community where we made long-lasting relationships that continue on after graduation.

Instagram: @tiff.rodriguezz

Jason Rumpff ’10

PCA&D major: Illustration

Lives: Lauttasaari – Helsinki, Finland

How have you built creativity and art-making into your life? I’ve always loved games and art … and I’ve managed to work my hobby into a career. I create art for games.

headshot of Jason Rumpf '10, Illustration, Alumni Council member 2021f

Why did you join the Alumni Council? I think opening up with information/resources to the youth is very important. There’s a lot to the business that may not be “taught” in the traditional sense.

A strong PCA&D memory is: I not only lived with but worked with a best friend made at PCA&D. He and I would always stay up every Thursday night pulling an all-nighter — which meant not sleeping until Friday evening. We’d paint all night watching movies, and get Chinese food on Friday (no class on Fridays at the time)

What’s a lesson from PCA&D that you’ve incorporated into life? Jack Martin had said: If you’re not willing to give up some aspects of life, you’re not going to make it as an artist. As harsh as it sounds, it is quite true. Art (and any creative field) takes a lot of personal time (and can take a) toll on relationships with other people.

What is a strength of the College? PCA&D was the first place I ever really did any sort of art (outside of drawing). I always loved how small the class size was and how personal it felt spending eight-plus hours a day in a studio working on things.

Website: artstation.com/jrumpff64

Instagram: @b0ba64