Lafayette Women: The Threads That Weave Us Together

By Shannon Sigafoos

Four Lafayette women—Prof. Chawne Kimber, Terese Brown ’07, Ellen Kravet Burke ’76, and Liza Roos Prior Lucy ’74 P’12’15—shared stories of personal identity, art, entrepreneurship, social justice, professional growth, fashion, and history.

Prof. Chawne Kimber wrapped in a quit she madeChawne Kimber

Thomas Roy and Lura Forrest Jones Professor of Mathematics, department head

Her Lafayette Connection: Kimber teaches mathematics at Lafayette and is known for incorporating concepts of social justice in her courses.

Prof. Chawne Kimber's colorful quote says You are LovedThe Thread She Weaves: Kimber created highly politicized quilts, and her work has been associated with the “modern quilting” movement, based on its geometric design and provocative content. Her work is frequently exhibited at quilting shows, at galleries, and in museums.

Her Words: “I use textiles in an artistic way to explore rather emotional things that are occurring in our society. This is part of a continuum of women using textiles to express themselves over a long, long period of time.”

Learn more about Kimber at

Ellen Kravet Burke ’76

Ellen Kravet Burke smilesHer Lafayette Connection: After graduating from Lafayette in 1976 with a degree in psychology, Kravet Burke attended Hofstra University, earning a master’s degree in early education/special education. Before joining the family business in 1988, she taught special education in Ventnor City, N.J., for eight years, helping children overcome emotional challenges and developmental difficulties.

The Thread She Weaves: Kravet Burke is the executive vice president and co-owner of Kravet Inc., now a fifth-generation family business that distributes fabrics, furniture, wall coverings, trimmings, and accessories. Founded in 1918, Kravet Inc. has transformed from a small fabric house to a global leader, representing brands and designers worldwide.

Her Words: “One of the most interesting things about our business is that we collect historic documents, and we turn them into modern-day fabrics. So, we have a collection of historic documents that we put in an archive, and we find them on all continents. We have a team that travels around the world. They go into places like churches, mosques, and museums, and they find historic documents. We have been told that we have the largest collection of privately held archival documents in the world—not public, because those are in museums—but the largest held by a family, which we’re very proud of.”

Learn more about Kravet Burke at

Terese Brown ’07

Terese BrownHer Lafayette Connection: Brown is a 2007 graduate with a B.A. in economics and business/studio art. She went on to earn her fashion design degree from the Fashion Institute of Technology (FIT). Today, she is the owner, CEO, and creative director of Terese Sydonna, a contemporary ready-to-wear and accessories brand.

The Thread She Weaves: Brown’s fashions are inspired by bold prints, sculpture, and unexpected detail, and celebrate a modern landscape where art, fashion,and comfort intersect. Stylish, yet maintenance-free, 95% of her collection is machine washable, quick drying, and wrinkle-free.

Her Words: “Nine years ago, I set out on a mission to create a collection that would transform the lifestyles of so many women like me who were desperate for change from the present corporate culture. I longed to create a wardrobe that would be timeless, comfortable, inexpensive, multifunctional, and low maintenance. I listened to my mother’s voice telling me to dream big.”

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Liza Roos Prior Lucy ’74 P’12’15

Liza Roos Prior LucyHer Lafayette Connection: A psychology major, Prior Lucy graduated from Lafayette with honors and went on to graduate school to pursue a degree in clinical psychology.

The Thread She Weaves: Prior Lucy is the owner of Glorious Color Inc. and is also a quilt, needlepoint, and knitting designer and expert quiltmaker who has collaborated with celebrated textile designer Kaffe Fasset on several major quilt design books.

Her Words: “I can’t remember a time when I didn’t have yarn or fabric or crayons to buy. Color combining was my passion, and little did I know that passion would determine my future and my career.”

Learn more about Lucy’s “FIRST COEDS QUILT” now on display at Skillman Library