For its thirtieth anniversary, The Nuckolls Fund for Lighting Education held its annual event to present grants and awards to recipients at LEDucation held in New York, March 12, 2019. This year’s total of $70,000 brought the Fund’s distribution since its founding to $1,210,000.

The Nuckolls Fund was established to honor the late lighting designer and pioneer lighting educator James L. Nuckolls. Submittals for financial support from the Fund’s three ongoing programs are judged annually. Colleges and universities are eligible to be grant recipients of $20,000 to develop and expand lighting design education. Instructors in lighting can apply to receive $10,000 in financial aid to improve their individual instructional abilities. Outstanding students in lighting design programs who are nominated by their instructors are selected to receive a $5,000 Fund award.

This year, the winners came from Mississippi State University, Texas State University, University of Nebraska, Parsons School of Design, Pennsylvania State University, and two from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute.

  • A 20,000 Nuckolls Fund Grant was given to Mississippi State University to assist in the development of a new class, Lessons from the Theatre: Architectural Lighting Design. The addition of the course to the current lighting curriculum will allow students to complete the requirements for a lighting certification. Principal investigator for this grant is Robin Carroll.
  • A second $20,000 Nuckolls Fund Grant was presented to Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute’s Lighting Research Center to develop and deliver a new course in lighting, Lighting for Plant Growth and Health. Mark Rea, Ph.D. is the Principal Investigator with Co-Principal Investigator Leora Radestky.
  • The $10,000 Edison Price Fellowship Grant was awarded to Asha Hegde, Ph.D. from Texas State University who will pursue an eight-week mentorship program with Professor Mariana G. Figueiro of Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute.
  • $5,000 Awards

James Bellovin Scholar Achievement Award: Andi Walter, University of Nebraska at Lincoln; Jules Horton International Student Achievement Award: Rohan Nagare, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute; Designers Lighting Forum of New York, Student Achievement Award: Aldo Jacques Espina, Parsons School of Design, and Laura Hinkle, Pennsylvania State University.


The deadline for receipt of applications for grants and awards for the 2020 Nuckolls Fund is October 31, 2019. Distribution to winners will take place March 17, 2020 at LEDucation to be held at New York Hilton Midtown. For more information, visit


Milham Retires from Nuckolls Fund Leadership

Jeffrey A. Milham, FIALD, FIES, has retired as president of The Nuckolls Fund for Lighting Education, which he led from 1989 to 2019. Milham has been succeeded by Lee Waldron, FIALD, director of Grenald Waldron Associates.

In his announcement to the Fund’s Board of Directors and friends of the Fund, Milham summarized his tenure as leader of the group for three decades.

“It has been my honor and privilege to have served as president of The Nuckolls Fund for Lighting Education over the past 30 years. I know that with the continued financial support of the lighting industry, the future will be equally successful.”

“When the late, great Lesley Wheel first envisioned an educational fund to support the development of lighting education, she wanted to honor her good friend and colleague, Jim Nuckolls. I believe that goal has been reached. The Nuckolls Fund has expanded to fulfill its mission and goals, the accomplishments of the fund represent the history of lighting education in North America over the last 30 years.”


Current and former members of The Nuckolls Fund for Lighting Education Board of Directors gathered at the LEDucation 2019 award ceremony. (l. to r.) top: Paul Gregory, Conor Sampson, Gary Gordon, Glenn Shrum, Dan Blitzer; bottom: Erin Speck, Lee Waldron, Ann Reo

Lee Waldron, new president of The Nuckolls Fund for Lighting Education, following the retirement of Jeffrey A. Milham who headed the organization for 30 years, at the LEDucation award ceremony.

Aldo Jacques Espina, student at Parsons School of Design, receives a $5,000 award from Lee Waldron, new president of The Nuckolls Fund for Lighting Education, at the award ceremony held at LEDucation 2019.

Leora Radestky, co-principal investigator at a new lighting course at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, Lighting for Plant Growth and Health, receives a $20,000 Nuckolls Fund Grant from Lee Waldron, new president of The Nuckolls Fund for Lighting Education, at the award ceremony held at LEDucation 2019.

Laura Hinkle displays her certificate of achievement for winning a $5,000 award, with Kevin Houser, left, and Dan Blitzer, right, presented at The Nuckolls Fund for Lighting Education award ceremony held at LEDucation 2019.