Rochester native Val Cushing (1931-2013) received his BFA in 1952 from the School of Art & Design in the New York State College of Ceramics at Alfred University. After serving two years in the Army during the Korean War, he returned to Alfred and received his MFA in 1956. His full-time teaching career began that year at the University of Illinois in Champaign-Urbana. The following year (1957) he returned to Alfred, where he taught pottery and technical courses concerning clays, glazes, and related subjects. He retired from Alfred in 1997, after forty-one years of teaching, and was named Professor Emeritus.