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.
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.
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.
Provost Kent Kleinman leads the Academic Affairs division and works closely with the president to articulate RISD’s academic vision and direction. Before coming to RISD in 2019, he was the Gale and Ira Drukier Dean of the College of Architecture, Art and Planning at Cornell University and has taught at several institutions in the US and internationally.
Representing Student Affairs on the President’s Cabinet, Ron Martel is an experienced higher education administrator with demonstrated experience in student affairs leadership for both private and public institutions. He was previously Vice President of Student Affairs and Dean of Students at Johnson & Wales University, where he provided vision, leadership and supervision for several areas he now oversees at RISD.
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.
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 25 years of experience in higher education financial management and administration, David Proulx has greatly strengthened RISD since joining our community in 2018. Both as senior vice president of finance and administration and, for part of 2021–22, as interim president, he has improved RISD’s financial and administrative processes, promoted fiscal and budgetary transparency, and established structures for community members to give input on key administrative issues and decision making.
Matthew Shenoda arrived at RISD in 2018 as the college's first-ever vice president of Social Equity and Inclusion (SEI). Matthew works closely with the president, provost, the full cabinet and RISD faculty, students and staff to ensure that SEI’s work impacts every aspect of RISD. An expert in the field both in and beyond the classroom, he oversees the Center for SEI and leads efforts to ensure that all elements of the SEI plan are embedded within RISD's academic, institutional and cultural framework.
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.
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.