Cogan Alumni Fellow shares success story with students, faculty, alumni
Carrie Scott Lazarus '01
By Mary Kate Skehan '12
When Carrie Scott Lazarus ’01 finished her first semester at Dickinson with a less-than-stellar GPA, her First-Year Seminar professor, Tom Reed, sat her down for a conversation that would change the course of her life. “He told me that if I wasn’t going to try any harder, I shouldn’t waste his time,” Lazarus recalls.
Eleven years after Lazarus’ graduation, following a decade of traveling and working in a variety of venues in the art world, Lazarus has settled in London to curate and direct the SHOWstudio Shop. On Feb. 26-27, the English department welcomed her back to campus as the Cogan Alumni Fellow to talk about her career path, her experiences living abroad and her engagement with London’s active art community.
The English department chose Lazarus this year in part because she has pursued a career overseas. “We liked her for the abroad aspect at first,” says Colin Tripp ’14, a member of the Cogan committee. “We got a lot of that interplay about being abroad [during her visit].”
Lazarus is also the first fellow who knew Cogan personally. “I was lucky enough to have Eleanor sit in on two of my classes while I was at Dickinson,” Lazarus recalls. “She was an inspiration. To now be part of her legacy is a profound honor.”
Lazarus spent two days on campus meeting with students and alumni. During the Cogan dinner in her honor on Sunday, she was the official judge of the dinner’s literary-dessert contest, granting first prize to “One Flew Over the Cookie’s Nest,” submitted by Kaitlin Lilienthal ’12. On Monday, Lazarus joined a group of English majors for lunch at local favorite Amy’s Thai and delivered her talk that evening in the Stern Center Great Room.
In her talk, Not Just A Titular Hero: How an English Department Taught Me to Think, Lazarus recalled the suburban malaise and rebellion of her high-school years in Greenwich, Conn., and the accident that left her with a broken leg and a lot of time on her hands to find her life’s direction. “I’m telling you, [the accident] is what got me into this place,” she said. After spending months crafting her college-admissions essay about the epiphany that accompanied her broken leg, Lazarus was admitted to Dickinson and arrived in the fall of 1997.
Lazarus’ career path took her from an M.A. program in art history at the University of Washington in Seattle to the Nicole Klagsbrun Gallery in New York City before she founded her art-advisory company, Carrie Scott & Partners. Through her firm, she connected with fashion photographer Nick Knight and became director and curator of the SHOWstudio Shop. With Knight, Lazarus explores the relationship between fashion and fine art, tackling issues like race and gender along the way in innovative, interactive exhibits. Lazarus has worked with celebrities like Naomi Campbell, Kate Moss and Lady Gaga, as well as artists like Beth Campbell and Rashid Johnson.
For her part, Lazarus was pleasantly surprised by the changes Dickinson has undergone since she last set foot on campus 11 years ago. “It was wonderful to see how the college has changed over the years and nice to be able to recognize that the quality and strength of the professors sits at the core of that change.”
‘Comforting and inspiring’
Lazarus wasn’t the only alumna on campus for the Cogan event. Megan Liberty ’11, who has just been admitted to University College London’s art history master’s program and currently works as a curatorial intern in Brooklyn, N.Y., returned to learn how a fellow art lover turned her passion into a successful career.
Published March 7, 2012