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Rhode Island School of Design’s Board of Trustees Names Michael Spalter as its New Chair and Elects Five New Board Members



PROVIDENCE, RI – At its spring meeting on May 18 and 19, the Board of Trustees at Rhode Island School of Design (RISD) elected Michael Spalter as its new chair, effective immediately. He replaces former Chair Merrill W. Sherman, who was voted by the trustees to be named Chair Emerita.

Previously a vice chair of the RISD Board of Trustees and a member of the Museum Board of Governors since 2008, Spalter previously cofounded Preservation of Capital Management, LLC, and currently serves on the Board of Directors for two companies that are part of D.E. Shaw Group, a global investment and technology firm. In addition, he and his wife, RISD alumna Anne Morgan Spalter MFA 92 PT, have created one of the world’s largest private digital art collections, loaning works to venues such as London’s Victoria & Albert Museum and New York’s Museum of Modern Art. He also serves on the Investment Committee of Lifespan, an integrated, academic health system affiliated with Brown University’s Warren Alpert Medical School.

Sherman will remain on RISD’s Board of Trustees for a third three-year term, serving on the Executive Committee of the Museum Board of Governors. She had served as chair since 2007, leading the search committee that appointed RISD’s current president, John Maeda. Originally elected to the Board in 2000, Sherman served as secretary from 2002–04 and vice chair from 2004–06. Her leadership brought significant changes to the Board’s composition, expanding its national reach and its representation of alumni, who now account for approximately one-third of RISD trustees. In addition, she spurred renewed focus on academic fundraising, recruitment, enrollment and student services; successfully led efforts to increase diversity in the student body; and oversaw the completion of RISD’s Chace Center.

“I am genuinely honored to become the 12th chair of the Board of Trustees of this iconic 135-year-old institution, and thank Ms. Sherman for her service,” Spalter notes. “We are all united by the belief that art and design have a critical role to play on the global stage. As trustees, we also share in the belief that we have great talent all around us, as shown by the contributions of our president, faculty, students, staff, parents, 26,000+ alumni in 86 countries and other devoted stakeholders the world over. I look forward to rallying around these common values to find ways to, as President Maeda says, ‘save the world with the arts and design.’”

RISD Trustee Jon Kamen, chairman and CEO of, notes that, “Michael Spalter is the most inspired choice as the new chair of RISD’s Board. His love of the college, his business expertise and his passion for the arts, as well as his commitment to family and community, make him a forward-thinking leader for RISD’s future. I’m delighted to serve under his leadership and am confident we will continue with the incredible progress we have made as an institution.”

Trustee Maggie Williams, partner of Griffin Williams and advisor to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, adds, “Michael Spalter is smart, strategic, patient, wise, generous and possesses one of the most important and rare leadership attributes: the ability to listen. Michael listens because he actually wants to know what people think.”

Spalter is a member of the Chairman’s Circle of American Friends of the Louvre, which raises awareness of the Louvre’s collections expertise and makes its exhibitions and permanent collections more accessible. Additionally, he is a trustee of Boston Cyberarts, which hosted the first new media festival in the United States. He has been a visiting scholar at Brown University, where he cofounded the Entrepreneurship Forum to bring successful entrepreneurs to campus to share their experiences with students and alumni.

Spalter earned a Bachelor of Arts in Art History from Brown University and a Master of Business Administration from the Harvard Business School. Anne Spalter, a practicing artist, graduated from Brown University with degrees in mathematics and visual arts after transferring from RISD, and then returned to RISD to earn a Master of Fine Arts degree in Painting. She created the first digital art courses at RISD and Brown, and is the author of Computer in the Visual Arts, a standard reference in the field. The Spalters met in an art history class at Brown and now reside in Providence with their daughter.

Other trustees who will continue to serve as Board officers are Lisa Pevaroff-Cohn 83 TX and Stephen Key as vice chairs and V. Duncan Johnson as secretary.

At its May meeting, the Board of Trustees also elected five new members to serve three-year terms through May 2015, effective immediately. Their collective expertise and passion for art, design and higher education will help RISD to remain the college of art and design by which all others are measured. The new trustees are:

• Joe Gebbia 05 GD/ID, cofounder and chief product officer of the Silicon Valley success story Airbnb, a trusted community marketplace for people to list, discover and book unique accommodations around the world. At Airbnb, he leads an integrated team of designers, engineers, and researchers who create simple user experiences through sharp, intuitive design. While pursuing a double major at RISD, he exhibited strong leadership skills as student body president and in founding RISD’s basketball team.

• Robert Glass (father of Grace Glass 11 IL) is executive vice president of Corporate Development at Robert Half International, the world’s first and largest specialized staffing firm and parent company of Protiviti, a global risk consulting and internal audit firm. He is also chairman of the board for Upwardly Global, a San Francisco-based education and advocacy organization that helps highly skilled, work-authorized immigrants and refugees rebuild their professional careers in the United States workforce.

• Amy Korenvaes 74 SC is a successful painter and sculptor whose strongest artistic interest revolves around circus clowns, rodeo clowns and hospital clowns. Her affiliation with the Big Apple Circus and Cirque de Soleil has been a major influence in her artistic and charitable endeavors. She has been a member of the Board of Trustees of the Van Cliburn Foundation and is currently on the Board of the Trustees of the Children’s Medical Center of Dallas, TX. Amy and her husband Harlan Korenvaes helped establish the “Funnyatrics” program, a leader in the therapeutic clowning in the United States, at the Children’s Medical Center in 2006 and she serves on its Board of Advisors.

• Mary Lovejoy, vice president and treasurer of Textron, Inc., oversees the company’s financing activities, global treasury operations, insurance programs and the investment of pension fund assets. A graduate of Dartmouth College and The University of Chicago (MBA), she lives in Barrington, RI and also serves on the Board of the Festival Ballet Providence and the International Institute of Rhode Island.

• Peter Stein leads an investment advisory practice for university endowments and foundations at the Presidio Group, LLC, a financial services firm with $4 billion in assets under management. He has more than a decade of experience managing endowments and has served on RISD’s Investment Committee since 2009.

About RISD 

Rhode Island School of Design (RISD) has earned an international reputation as the leading college of art and design in the United States. Approximately 2,400 students from around the world study at RISD, pursuing full-time bachelor’s or master’s degree programs in a choice of 19 studio majors. RISD is known for its phenomenal faculty of artists and designers, the breadth of its specialized facilities and its hands-on, studio-based approach to learning – one in which critical thinking informs making works by hand. Required courses in the liberal arts provide an essential complement to studio work, enabling graduates to become critical and informed individuals eager to engage with the world. Through the accomplishments of its 26,000 alumni, the college champions the vital role artists and designers play in satisfying the global demand for innovation. Founded in 1877, RISD (pronounced “RIZ-dee”) and the RISD Museum of Art help make Providence, RI among the most culturally active and creative cities in the region. For more information, visit or


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A figure modeling class from 1916.