The Nuckolls Fund for Lighting Education awarded a total of $60,000 for lighting education grants and student awards at its annual luncheon on April 26 held at Lightfair International in San Diego. This year’s Nuckolls Fund awards brought the total amount of grants and student awards given for lighting education in North America to $995,000.

Named in honor of the late lighting designer and educator, James L. Nuckolls, the Fund was established in 1989. Jeffrey A. Milham, president of The Nuckolls Fund, presented two $20,000 Lesley Wheel Introductory Lighting Program Grants and four $5,000 student awards. Recipients are selected by the Fund’s Board of Directors from an annual solicitation of proposals for innovative educational programs that advance the understanding of light in architecture. The $20,000 Lesley Wheel Grants fund new lighting courses in universities where they had not previously been offered. Student awards are selected in recognition of outstanding performance in the study of lighting at the university level.

$20,000 Lesley Wheel Introductory Lighting Program Grants

  • A team of four faculty members at Philadelphia University were the recipients of a $20,000 grant for a new course, “Lighting Design,” the first of four courses leading to an undergraduate lighting minor and a graduate lighting concentration. They are collaborating on the interdisciplinary lighting course of study that will involve architecture, industrial design, and interior design. The winning program was conceived by: Professor James Doerfler, Associate Professors Lyn Godley and Lauren Baumbach, and Assistant Professor Mathew Gindlesparger.
  • The University of Idaho, Moscow, Idaho, was awarded a $20,000 grant to develop and deliver a new course in lighting in the College of Art and Architecture. It will also be made available to students in the Interior Design program. Principal investigator is Dr. Leyla Sanati.

$5,000 Nuckolls Fund Awards

  • The Jonas Bellovin Scholar Achievement Award recognizes a student who has demonstrated outstanding performance in an existing lighting program. This year’s recipient, Jeffrey Mundinger, is an M.S. student in Penn State’s Architectural Engineering Program and he plans to pursue his Ph.D. degree with his award.
  •  The $5,000 Jules Horton International Student Achievement Award is given annually to an international student now studying lighting in the United States who is recognized for academic achievements and dedication to lighting design. The winner selected for this year’s award is Thomas Mnich, originally from Germany, now enrolled at Parsons The New School for Design in New York City.
  • Two $5,000 Designers Lighting Forum of New York Student Achievement Awards were presented as part of the DLFNY program that funds two awards annually over a 20-year period.
    Rohan Nagare, currently a candidate for an M.S. degree in the Lighting program at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute’s Lighting Research Center, has been accepted to pursue has studies leading to a Ph.D. at RPI. Shelby White is studying lighting at the graduate level at the University of Colorado, Boulder, and is also a teaching assistant in the lighting program.

Nuckolls Fund president Milham noted significant donations made this past year by long-time contributors including the Jonas Bellovin Memorial Foundation, B-K Lighting and TEKA Illumination, the Designers Lighting Forum of New York, Enterprise Lighting Sales, the Illuminating Engineering Society New York City Section and Lighting Design Alliance.

The guest speaker was Glenn Shrum, a Nuckolls Fund board member, who heads Flux Studio in Baltimore, and is Director of the Master of Fine Arts program at Parsons The New School for Design’s School of Constructed Environments. Milham closed by reporting on the availability of the Fund’s electronic database of lighting educators being used to communicate with those educators about the free educational resources offered on the Fund’s website, These resources are available to anyone anywhere. Milham stated “Our resources serve members of the entire lighting community, whether they are lighting students, lighting teachers, or lighting design practitioners.”


Proposals for the 2017 Nuckolls Fund for Lighting Education grants are due on February 6, 2017. For further details, visit to download the current grant RFP or to make a donation to the Fund.