Stephen Alsa ‘05/M.A.’06, center, congratulated by Dean Deirdre Yates, left, and Dr. Charlotte Nichols, right.
Stephen Alsa ‘05/M.A.‘06, an alumnus of the accelerated B.A. in Art History/M.A. in Museum Professions, was recently recognized at the 2nd annual College of Communication and the Arts Signature Event. Representing the College’s Center for Graduate Studies, Alsa received the Distinguished Alumni Award for his work as an associate development officer at The Metropolitan Museum of Art.
Alsa’s interest in art history began during his freshman year of high school when he became fascinated by how art history incorporated a variety of topics to tell the story of a particular period or societal movement. Four years later, he selected Seton Hall University to cultivate his passion. He earned his B.A. in Art History summa cum laude with a minor in applied music and was the recipient of the undergraduate Arts Honors Citation. As an accelerated B.A./M.A. student, he also earned his M.A. in Museum Professions. During his tenure at the University, he was actively involved in the then Department of Art and Music as a member of the Touring Choir and Vocal Chamber Ensemble. Following graduation, he spent more than six years as a member of the University’s Chapel Choir.
Alsa credits his decision to earn a graduate degree to the close relationships he formed with his professors. “I had the honor of studying under the guidance of Dr. Charlotte Nichols and Dr. Petra Chu during my time at Seton Hall,” he explained. “Both professors are admirable experts in their field, and shared their passion for the subject matter in an energizing and contagious manner. I decided that I wanted to seek out ways in which I could integrate art history into furthering my education and future career.”
The accelerated B.A./M.A. in Museum Professions allows Seton Hall University undergraduate students majoring in degrees such as art history, anthropology, English, history, or others to take 12 graduate credits. These 12 credits count toward both the B.A. and the M.A. degree. Following undergraduate graduation, students complete the remaining 27 credits of the M.A. degree. The M.A. in Museum Professions is an on-campus program designed for individuals interested in pursuing careers in museums or related cultural institutions. Students select one of four professional tracks including Museum Education, Museum Registration, Museum Management, or Exhibition Development.
Alsa, who specialized in Museum Education, maintained close relationships with his undergraduate professors, while being introduced to new graduate-level faculty who are active practitioners at some of the most prestigious museums and cultural institutions in the tristate area.
He shared that the program’s faculty inspired him to follow their example. “My professional career path has included many different positions. I have held positions in general fundraising, institutional membership, and major gifts at a range of cultural and educational institutions. From my academic roots in art history and with the guidance I received from my professors, I learned that the ability to observe carries great power in almost any professional context, particularly in the field of fundraising,” noted Alsa.
Currently, Alsa serves as the associate development officer for prospect research at The Metropolitan Museum of Art. He is responsible for securing financial support by identifying potential supporters who would ensure the continued security of the museum’s mission to collect, study, conserve, and present significant works of art across all times and cultures. He previously held positions at the Oxford University Press, Swiss Institute for Contemporary Art in New York, a nonprofit image library called Artstor, and New York University’s Steinhardt School of Culture, Education, and Human Development.
His impressive academic and professional accomplishments led the Art History and Museum Professions-affiliated faculty to nominate him for the Distinguished Alumni Award. The nomination came as a complete surprise to Alsa, and he is grateful to be recognized. “I still consider myself to be in the early stages of my career, so to have earned the title of Distinguished Alumnus at the recommendation of my mentors was truly an amazing and unexpected honor,” explained Alsa.