Thursday, January 10, 2008

RISD's New President - Mr. Creative?

[December 2007 - Rhode Island School of Design] The Board of Trustees of Rhode Island School of Design (RISD) announced on December 21, 2007 that John Maeda, Associate Director of Research at the MIT Media Lab, has accepted the offer to become the 16th president of RISD.

RISD Board Chair Merrill Sherman said, “We are delighted to name John Maeda as successor to Roger Mandle. RISD has a special obligation to play a leadership role in the world of art and design, nationally and internationally. Creativity and innovation are more important than ever. We believe John will be a bold, innovative and exciting president and will enhance RISD’s role in helping to shape and inform art and design in this century.”

John Maeda has a distinguished career in humanizing technology for creative endeavors. He has been a professor at MIT since 1996 where he is currently the Associate Director of Research at the MIT Media Lab, responsible for managing research relationships with 70+ industrial organizations. He has also been a practicing designer since 1990 and has developed advanced projects for an array of major corporations including Cartier, Google, Philips, Reebok, Samsung, among others. His early work in digital media design is in the permanent collection of the Museum of Modern Art in New York. Since 2001, Maeda’s works of contemporary art have been exhibited in one-man shows in London, New York, and Paris to wide acclaim. His highly regarded fourth book, The Laws of Simplicity has been published in fourteen languages and has become the reference work for discussions on the highly elusive theme of “simplicity” in the complex digital world. Maeda has lectured at numerous conferences, universities, museums, and to corporate audiences throughout the world on his philosophy of “humanizing technology.”

Maeda said, “It is my deepest honor to be selected by the RISD Presidential Search Committee which was comprised of an extremely committed group of students, staff, faculty, and trustees — bringing all their unique perspectives to the table. Furthermore, to receive the unanimous approval of the Board of Trustees is a gratifying vote of confidence that instills in me a real determination to advance all aspects of RISD as an institution representative of the highest standards of learning. I look forward to working with the incredibly inspiring and creative community of RISD to realize the possibilities for the world’s first truly 21st century university of art and design.”

Maeda will assume his responsibilities as president of RISD in June 2008.

Stepping down from the RISD presidency will be President Roger Mandle, the longest-serving president since the early 20th century. During Mandle’s fifteen-year tenure, the size of the RISD faculty increased by 50%, the RISD endowment has grown by a factor of five and RISD’s first capital campaign exceeded its $85 million goal by over $20 million, and the RISD campus has expanded significantly, among other major accomplishments. Mandle said, “John Maeda is a commanding presence in both the fine arts and corporate design worlds. But just as important, he is a humanist. He is a genius — and he gets things done. He is just what RISD needs.” More (including a short video introduction to John Maeda, in his own words)

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