About

Leadership

RISD president

Crystal Williams | President

Crystal Williams believes that education, art and design, and commitments to equity and justice are essential to transforming our society. Williams has more than two decades of higher education experience. She is an institutional catalyst, helping to envision, define and achieve greater outcomes for students, faculty and staff. As a faculty member, she has focused on advancing artistic inquiry and engagement. As a leader, she ensures through her work that institutions are more effective, mission-aligned and diverse, equitable and inclusive.

Prior to RISD, Williams served as Boston University’s inaugural vice president and associate provost for community and inclusion starting in 2020. There she provided leadership, vision, management and strategic direction for initiatives that support the development of strong communities of faculty, staff and students, promoting diversity, equity and inclusion within BU’s 17 schools and colleges. 

President’s Cabinet

Candace Baer | Vice President of Human Resources

Candace Baer joined RISD's leadership team in 2006. As head of RISD’s Human Resources Office, Baer oversees its mission to create a positive, inclusive work environment that attracts and supports a diverse community of talented professionals. An experienced human resources professional, she previously served as associate director of human resources at Smith College and vice president of organizational effectiveness at Merrill Lynch. Baer holds an MA in Organizational Communication from Emerson College.

Renee Byas | General Counsel

As RISD’s general counsel, Renee Byas provides legal services to trustees, administrators, faculty, staff, student leaders and others regarding activities they conduct on behalf of the institution. She is also a member of the President’s Cabinet and liaison to the Board of Trustees. Currently managing partner at Texas-based Byas Smith and Associates, Byas has served as general counsel and in similar capacities for several institutions, including Illinois State University, Houston Community College and the Lone Star College System in Texas.

Sarah Ganz Blythe | Director of the RISD Museum

Sarah Ganz Blythe joined the RISD Museum in 2009 as director of education and then as deputy director for exhibitions, education and programs before assuming her current role as the museum's interim director. Investigating the complicated histories of museums, art pedagogy and interpretation in her own work, she holds a PhD in art history from the Institute of Fine Arts, New York University. Previously Ganz Blythe served as director of interpretation and research at The Museum of Modern Art, New York and also held positions at the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

Tony Johnson | Associate Dean for Student Social Equity and Inclusion and Assistant Vice President for Social Equity and Inclusion

Tony Johnson is an “artivist” (artist-activist) who bridges the realms of creative endeavor, equity and educational policy. At RISD he provides strategic leadership in realizing an environment where advancing inclusion and equity are central to the student experience and where artists and designers develop personally and socioculturally in preparation to enter today’s global contexts.

Jim McGill | Senior Vice President of Finance and Administration

Across a decades-long career, Jim McGill has held several leadership positions in higher education finance and operations, including 12-plus years as the senior vice president of Johns Hopkins University before retiring in 2010. He currently maintains a higher education consulting practice, through which he has provided financial and administrative leadership for more than a dozen clients.

Rick Mickool | Chief Information Officer

Rick Mickool leads RISD’s central information technology services area, providing IT vision and leadership over the course of a 25-year career in this rapidly changing field. He has presented at numerous national and regional conferences, speaking about such topics as distributed learning, on-demand and cloud service delivery, and re-engineering in higher education.

David Milstone | Associate Vice President of Student Affairs

David Milstone has worked in higher education for four decades, most recently as University of Massachusetts Dartmouth’s chief student affairs officer responsible for student development and leadership offices. He has served as a dean of students at three colleges and universities, taught academic classes on leadership theory, civic engagement and Social Justice, and is a certified community mediator. Milstone earned his doctorate in educational leadership.

Anais Missakian | Provost

Before becoming provost, longtime faculty member Anais Missakian was the Pevaroff-Cohn Family Endowed Chair in Textiles. Among her accomplishments in professional practice, she works with close colleagues at MIT on the transformation of traditional textiles into integrated and networked devices and systems. Through this collaboration, Missakian was among the coauthors of a paper on acoustic fabrics that appeared in Nature in March 2022.

James O'Hara | Vice President of Enrollment Management and Student Affairs

Jamie O’Hara joined RISD’s top leadership team in September 2017 after serving as vice president for Enrollment Management at Rider University in Lawrenceville, NJ since 2004. At RISD he oversees enrollment strategies that enable the college to continue to attract and retain the best and most talented students from increasingly diverse backgrounds.

O'Neil Outar | Vice President of Institutional Advancement

O’Neil A.S. Outar joined RISD's leadership team in January 2018, bringing more than 20 years of fundraising and leadership experience from some of the world’s leading public and private research universities. Since beginning his career at Tufts University, he has held key advancement roles at MIT, the University of Alberta, Harvard and the University of Pittsburgh.

Jack Silva | Vice President of Campus Services

As vice president of campus services, Jack Silva oversees campus facilities, along with safety and auxiliary services. Since coming to RISD in 1996 as a mechanical supervisor, he has contributed a wealth of engineering and leadership experience to the needs of a growing and changing campus.

Kerci Marcello Stroud | Chief Marketing and Communications Officer

Kerci Marcello Stroud oversees the development of marketing and communications initiatives that engage the college’s key audiences and amplify the impact of art and design on the world. She previously served as Teach For America's vice president of communications and then-New York City Council Member Bill de Blasio's chief of staff.

Stanley Wolukau-Wanambwa | Assistant Provost for Social Equity and Inclusion

Photographer and writer Stanley Wolukau-Wanambwa arrived at RISD in 2019 as a faculty member in Photography and the department’s graduate program director. His essays are published widely and his debut monograph, One Wall a Web (ROMA Publications, 2018) won the Paris Photo-Aperture Foundation First PhotoBook Award. He has also lectured at Yale, Cornell, New York University and The New School.

Board of Trustees

The primary responsibilities of the Board of Trustees are to:

  • advance RISD’s mission
  • provide organizational oversight
  • set policies

    OFFICERS OF THE BOARD

  • Michael H. Spalter
    Providence, RI
    Chair
    financier, digital art collector

  • Hillary Blumberg 92 FAV
    New York, NY
    Vice Chair
    freelance design director and consultant

  • Ilene Chaiken 79 GD/P 18
    Los Angeles, CA
    Vice Chair
    writer, producer, show runner

  • Karen Hammond
    Providence, RI
    Vice Chair
    retired (former Managing Director, Devonshire Investors)

  • Jon Kamen P 09
    New York, NY
    Vice Chair
    Chairman, CEO, RadicalMedia

  • Tavares Strachan 03 GL
    New York, NY
    Vice Chair
    artist

  • Margaret A. Williams
    Westerly, RI
    Vice Chair
    Co-Founder and Partner, Griffin Williams Critical Point Management, LLC

    TERM TRUSTEES

  • Her Excellency Sheikha Al Mayassa bint Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani
    New York, NY
    Chair, Qatar Museums, Doha Film Institute and Qatar Leadership

  • Ashleigh Axios 08 GD
    Washington, DC
    Chief Experience Officer and co-owner, Coforma

  • David C. Barclay P 10
    Los Angeles, CA
    retired (former Senior Vice President and Director, Capital Research and Management Company)

  • Caroline Baumann
    New York, NY
    design leader; former Director, Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum

  • Gabrielle Bullock BArch 84
    Los Angeles, CA
    Principal and Director of Global Diversity, Perkins and Will

  • J. Scott Burns
    Providence, RI
    retired (former Managing Partner European Practice, Brown Rudnick)

  • Norman Chan BArch 85
    Hong Kong
    Director, BTR Workshop

  • Donald Choi 82 BArch
    Hong Kong
    Executive Director and CEO of the Chinachem Group

  • Erica Gerard Di Bona P 11
    Los Angeles, CA
    independent fundraising consultant

  • Robert A. DiMuccio
    Cumberland, RI
    President and CEO, Amica Mutual Insurance Company

  • Michelle Ebanks
    New York, NY

  • Shepard Fairey 92 IL / HD 21
    Los Angeles, CA
    artist and founder, OBEY

  • Fabian Fondriest P 16
    Boston, MA
    CEO, American Family Direct and Homesite Insurance

  • Joe Gebbia 05 GD/ID / HD 17
    San Francisco, CA
    Co-Founder and CPO, Airbnb, Inc.

  • Robert W. Glass P 11
    San Francisco, CA
    Executive Vice President of Corporate Development, Robert Half International

  • Vikram Kirloskar P 12
    Bangalore, India
    Chairman and Managing Director, Kirloskar Systems LTD
    Vice Chairman, Toyota Kirloskar Motors Private LTD

  • David Lee 00 GD
    New York, NY
    Chief Creative Officer, Squarespace

  • Mary Lovejoy
    Barrington, RI
    retired (former Vice President and Treasurer, Textron)

  • Nicole J. Miller 73 AP
    New York, NY
    fashion designer and Co-Founder/President, Kobra International Ltd.

  • Stacey Nicholas P 21
    Laguna Hills, CA
    Founder, Opus Foundation

  • Michael Rock MFA 84 GD
    New York, NY
    Founding Partner and Creative Director, 2x4

  • William Schweizer P 19
    New York, NY
    Vice Chairman of Clinical Affairs, NYU Langone Medical Center

  • Shahzia Sikander MFA 95 PT/PR
    New York, NY
    artist

  • Todd Waterbury
    New York, NY
    Chief Creative Officer, Target

    EX OFFICIO TRUSTEES

  • Richard W. “Dick” Haining Sr. P 05
    Atlanta, GA
    Chair, Emeriti Trustees
    retired (former Vice President, Montag & Caldwell)

  • Shefali Khushalani P 22
    New Delhi, India
    Chair, Families Association
    entrepreneur

  • Crystal Williams
    Providence, RI
    President, Rhode Island School of Design

  • Rex Wong BArch 03
    Hong Kong
    President, Alumni Association
    CEO, Kum Shing Holdings

    EMERITI TRUSTEES

  • Anthony C. Belluschi BArch
    66/P 95
    Portland, OR

  • John H. Beug P 05
    Santa Monica, CA

  • Vincent A. Buonanno
    Providence, RI

  • Jamie F. Carpenter 72 IL
    New York, NY

  • Jane Chace Carroll HD 06
    New York, NY

  • Clara M. Dale BArch 75
    New York, NY

  • Susan W. Dryfoos P 01
    New York, NY

  • Bayard C. Ewing
    Denver, CO

  • Anne B. Fordyce 67 SC
    Watertown, MA

  • Katherine Freygang 80 IA/MFA 81 GD
    Cornwall, CT

  • A. Corwin Frost 59 AR/P 97
    Bronxville, NY

  • Wilfrid L. Gates, Jr. 65 LA
    North Kingstown, RI

  • Cathy Barancik Graham 76 PT
    New York, NY

  • Paula Koffler Granoff HD 10
    Providence, RI

  • Richard W. “Dick” Haining Sr. P 05
    Atlanta, GA

  • William R. Hammer BArch 65
    Cambridge, MA

  • Ronne Hartfield
    Chicago, IL

  • Dorothy Hebden-Heath 57 PT
    Boston, MA

  • Se-Ung Lee P 91
    Seoul, Korea

  • David A. Macaulay BArch 69 / HD 04
    Norwich, VT

  • Pauline C. Metcalf
    New York, NY

  • Stephen A. Metcalf
    Providence, RI

  • Stuart J. Murphy 64 IL/P 96
    Boston, MA

  • J. Terrence Murray
    Narragansett, RI

  • Dana M. Newbrook 63 AR
    Cumberland, RI

  • Joan Ress Reeves
    Providence, RI

  • M. Kate Rittmann P 95
    Orinda, CA

  • Merrill W. Sherman
    Jamestown, RI

  • Philip E. Tobey BArch 66
    Reston, VA

  • William J. Watkins P 83
    Sarasota Square, FL

  • Patricia A. White 64 IL/P 96
    Cambridge, MA

* RISD alumni are noted by a class year and major acronym following their names. Parents and grandparents of alumni are designated by P or GP, plus the year of graduation, and honorary degrees are designated by HD plus the year awarded.