Crowdfunding campaign for Taylor Watkins Ceramic Award runs Sept. 25 to Oct. 25

September 29, 2014

A Penn State crowdfunding campaign to raise money for the Taylor Watkins Ceramic Award, created in memory of a 2012 Penn State School of Visual Arts alumnus who died of cancer in 2013, kicked off Sept. 25 at and will run until Oct. 25.

"Taylor-Made: Molding Future Ceramics Students" is dedicated to Taylor Watkins, a promising ceramicist who was planning to pursue graduate studies in his field before his life was abruptly cut short. The award will provide financial support to undergraduate students enrolled in the College of Arts and Architecture who have demonstrated outstanding talent in ceramics. It was initiated by one of Watkins’ former professors, Chris Staley, distinguished professor of art.

Watkins discovered ceramics when he came to Penn State, and he found great joy in creating and sharing his handcrafted pieces with others. His goal was to become a teacher so he could pass on his love for his craft. Watkins was known as a passionate young man who was never too busy to lend a helping hand to someone in need.

In order for the award endowment to be created, $20,000 needs to be raised. Because previous efforts already raised approximately $6,000, this campaign is hoping to generate at least $14,000 to complete the endowment and allow the first award to be given in spring 2015. If $20,000 is raised, roughly $1,000 will be awarded each year, to a deserving student or students as determined by a committee within the Penn State School of Visual Arts.

Staley, who also was Watkins’ friend and mentor, had the opportunity to spend some time with him the week before he died. “I wanted Taylor to know that he made a positive impact on everyone he interacted with, and so I told him that I wanted to create an award in his name to be given to a deserving undergraduate ceramic student at Penn State each year. I will never forget the smile of gratitude on Taylor's face.”

For more information, contact Emily Wymore at

  • Taylor Watkins

    Penn State School of Visual Arts alumnus Taylor Watkins lost his battle with cancer in 2013, and now friends and family have launched a crowdfunding campaign to raise money to establish the Taylor Watkins Ceramic Award in the School of Visual Arts.

    IMAGE: Penn State
Last Updated September 29, 2014