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.
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 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.
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 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 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.
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.
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 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.
With more than 30 years’ experience in the field, Liz Rainone leads RISD’s Human Resources team in providing comprehensive services to our faculty and staff community, as well as attracting, retaining, developing and rewarding a diverse workforce. Before assuming her current role, Rainone served as our director of employment and, prior to RISD, held human resources VP positions for both Bank of America and Fleet Bank.
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 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.
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
* 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.