Department of Art Alumni

Joyce McKenna '98, MFA '02

Joyce McKenna has received a masters degree in fine art after she spent 19 years obtaining her bachelor of arts at Western Connecticut State University. She is one of the first graduates of the new MFA program in painting at Western.

After working for two years as a secretary for the general manager at Gannett News Service in Washington DC, Joyce became a graphic artist for Gannett. She did not want to raise her children on Capitol Hill due to a drug problem in the schools, among other things, McKenna, by then divorced, remembered happy times from her childhood spent in New Milford, and moved back to the town with her daughter, Kathleen, and her son George, then in their early teens. She supported her family by working as the secretary to the English Department at Western Connecticut State University, a position she would hold for the next 21 years, and took classes in the school’s Art Department.

McKenna’s bachelors degree in studio art came almost hand-in-hand with her retirement from the school. She received her B.A. in June of 1998 and retired the summer of 2000.

Following her retirement from the university, McKenna received a letter from Western suggesting that she might be interested in going for a masters degree, and although she already had enough knowledge and talent to pursue a career in the arts, she was again pulled into the academic milieu.

Despite her comfort with the university environment, McKenna does not see herself becoming a professor. She feels she has too much to learn and do in the world of art to devote the time and energy a teaching career demands.

Her love of art has been a constant in her life since she was a young girl attending Regina Laudis Abbey’s one-room school house in Bethlehem, Conn. She looks back with pride at the award in drawing that she received from The Corcoran School of Arts in Washington, D.C., and looks forward to her continuing career as an artist.

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