Professor Elaine Polvinen started her career at Buffalo State in 1992 after earning her MFA from the Rochester Institute of Technology in design. Her career passion was infusing technology into the fashion program and across campus. She was an innovator in the use of technology for student gallery sites and was often the first to adopt new software, and new methodology. A dedicated and talented textile designer, her activities in AATCC brought exposure and numerous awards for many Buffalo State students.
One of her highest priority teaching goals was to initiate development of multiple product development student projects with industry partners and to present capstone experiences that also provide scholarship for students. Over the years she has worked on industry projects with companies such as Designworks International, Tony Walker, Fisher Price, JCPenney, Melton Shirt Company in Batavia, NY, and Cotton Inc.
In the over twenty years Professor Polvinen has been teaching, she saw first-hand the financial difficulties that many of her student had – not only to attend college but in purchasing the textbooks and supplies needed in order to be successful in the classroom. In 1998, she initiated the RUNWAY fashion show which not only highlighted student work and brought positive publicity to campus but also to develop a method of raising funds for student scholarships. It took six years to raise the amount of money required to endow the first scholarship and the newly formed fashion department wanted to name it in honor of Professor Polvinen for her hard work and dedication to the students and the department. It was only through her thoughtfulness and foresight in creating a revenue source for scholarship funding that we can today offer students help in achieving their goals.
Professor Polvinen lost her three year battle with cancer in October 2015.