Frenchy Lunning


Frenchy Lunning has been an MCAD faculty member for thirty-nine years, starting as an adjunct in 1981 and ranked full-time faculty member in 1983. She has taught across the college, and her classes and her degrees reflect her eclectic interests.

Following ten years as a senior designer at Dayton’s Commercial Interiors she joined the design division of MCAD, teaching classes such as Principles of Interior Design and Human Interface. She also taught in the Visual Studies Foundation area, including Imaginary Architecture and Stage Craft. Moving to the Liberal Arts division, Frenchy has taught a full range of classes from Histories of Graphic Design and Animation, as well as Print Culture, Art, and Communications.

Frenchy was the founder and director of MCAD's Mechademia Conference on Asian Popular Cultures and was editor-in-chief of Mechademia, a ten-volume books series published by the University of Minnesota Press, which also published her own books, including Subcultural Fashion: Fetish Style, and Cosplay and the Fictional Mode of Existence, and is working on her third, Revolutionary Girl: Shojo. She is a producer for Moving Walkway Productions, an animation, film, and video production company. She holds a Ph.D. Design Communications from the University of Minnesota, an MA in Liberal Studies from Hamline University, and a BA in Theatrical Design from the University of Iowa.

See what Frenchy's colleagues, students, and friends have to say about her exceptional contributions to MCAD.

Karen Wirth

Congratulations, Frenchy. Your natural curiosity and a knack for personal and professional reinvention has shown through the many ways you have enriched the college. The impressive range of creative and scholarly practice you have led ties into your deep commitment to teaching. I wish you much happiness and continued curiosity in the next phase of your life.

Ashley Nichols

I had the honor of having one of my very first classes at MCAD this past fall with the lovely Frenchy. I think after the first day of class I caught her outside and from day one she was the kindest and most caring person. Between her anecdotes and mannerisms I knew I was in for a treat! She is so respectful and caring to every student and will be missed so dearly!

Tom DeBiaso

Frenchy, you are simply one of the most gifted and talented members of the MCAD community! Your work as a mentor, teacher, and faculty leader has made MCAD a better place for all you have contributed and the special person you are. I always counted on you as a friend and trusted colleague throughout our long and shared tenure—starting about the time the Society wanted to give MCAD to the U! And on it went. Always generous and knowledgeable with the students (they love you) and your peers (yes us too) with a good heart and great spirit. Always present and counted when it mattered. You developed curriculum, worked countless hours with your devoted students, and always had a genuine warmth and insightful presence as a scholar and artist. I always loved working with you on the graduate committee with our countless hours of laughter, assessments, parties, recruitment events, reviews, classes, and gossiping about the good fight. At one point we shared a classroom and after your class, I would read all of the brilliant notes you left on the whiteboard (seemed like a personal tutorial) that consistently gave me inspiration and courage. I will always remember you going into one of your legendary feminist studies classes with a throng of devoted students in tow wearing a pink t-shirt with “SLUT” emblazoned on the front!

I will miss you, my dear friend and colleague!

Tanvi Kulkarni

Hi Frenchy, I was surprised to know that you are retiring. You are the best history and liberal arts professor I have ever had. You know how to make assignments fun for each student. I am going to miss your stories. Thank you so much for being such a great professor. Wish you the best continued success. I hope our paths will cross again in the future.

Stephen Rueff

I appreciate your passion and contributions to the field of research around anime. I am working my way through your Mechademia books that are in the MCAD library. You will be missed!

Dana LeMoine

Thank you for your dedication to MCAD!

Autumn Amadou-Blegen

Thank you so much for the work on the MCAD History Lunch and Learn in 2019. We are still using some of this content for new employee orientations at MCAD so this work informs all those starting at MCAD. We hope it inspires the sense of legacy and trajectory that your original presentation did. Thank you, Frenchy!

Mary Kazura

Frenchy! I am so happy that you get to move on to a well-deserved retirement and an exciting new chapter in your life! I can't believe that I have known you for over twenty years and have been privileged to be your colleague and friend during that time. Thank you for welcoming me and my family into yours, providing life-saving advice when I needed it most, and being an overall badass of academia that I can look up to.

Arlene Birt

Congratulations, Frenchy! (And looking forward to continuing to see you around campus.)

Shannon Gilley

Frenchy, I've appreciated your quirky sense of humor, passion for your subject matter, and down-to-earth approach since we met way back during my MFA studies. It was great having an animation advocate outside the program and I'm glad to have had the opportunity to work with you. I'll miss running into you in the halls. Cheers and congratulations to you!

Jody Williams

Hey Frenchy. I will be sorry not to see your face around MCAD after all these thirty-one years! You have been such a support for all of the faculty (and students) with your strong, wise voice. While I have always been a bit in awe of you, you have always treated me like an appreciated colleague with warmth and encouragement. Thank you so much for that. The warmth and good wishes and hugs are being sent back to you, sadly via the ether. 
-Jode (you are the only one besides my mom who has ever used that for a nickname. And my mom is awesome, so you are in fabulous, beloved company.)

Julie Van Grol

Oh, Frenchy! I don't want to picture what MCAD looks like without you. But you have more than earned this moment to hang up your MCAD hat and go pursue your next adventure. I hope you realize how much brighter, exciting, and wonderful you made MCAD (speaking as former MFA student and now a colleague). You're amazing; thank you for being you and for sharing it with all of our lucky students and community.

Tom Milbrath

Good luck with retirement!

Hallie Bahn

As an MFA candidate, I had Frenchy for two semesters my first year. Frenchy's excitement in the classroom was palpable and infectious. She cares so deeply about the ideas and material she is teaching that you can't help but join her for the academic ride. At least once a month I get a Frenchy-ism stuck in my head— this month it has been Frenchy raising her arm to aim her elbow at the class, pointing to her elbow and repeating "Embrace the Strange." Frenchy, thank you for always valuing process over outcome and for modeling for me the beautiful stage performance that is a great lecture.

Dennis Lo

The spirit of Frenchy can be summarized by this phrase: Schoolgirl and Mobile suit. Over the years, numerous obstacles challenged her, but amid the chaos, she did not hesitate to jump into the Mobile suit and battle them. What I learned is that you are never ready. You just go and jump in and read the manual as you go. And in that spirit, Frenchy brought something unique and fabulous to MCAD that you cannot find anywhere else. I remembered attending the first Mechacademia in 2005, and I was hooked ever since. I learned so much. Thank you for your spirit and your insight and your vision. I wish you all the best.

Kiley Van Note

Frenchy Lunning is incredibly dedicated and enthusiastic about teaching art and design! My favorite thing about Frenchy is her ability to talk to anyone and her inclusivity. She has a bright spirit and warm heart and is always willing to share her experiences and help others. I will miss seeing her at MCAD and I'm so thankful for all she's done for the college!

peng wu and frenchy lunning

Peng Wu

It is said that education is a lifelong work. It is specifically true for my relationship with dear Professor Frenchy! It has been nine years since my first day meeting Frenchy on MCAD campus. Throughout the MFA program and the hardest time of my career after graduation, Frenchy provided me the kindness, support, and sense of belonging I desperately needed in this strange lonely foreign country.  I have learned from her that the power of kindness and caring is the essential part of the transformative art education. I am inspired by her to devote myself as an art educator.