Presidential Search Update: Interim President announced

Dear RISD Community,

As I shared with you last month, we are currently building the candidate pool for our presidential search and, as expected, this process will continue past President Somerson’s retirement. Therefore, today I write to inform you about how our institution will be led after June 30.

Steadfast leadership is paramount during a time of change and we are lucky to have an exceptional member of Cabinet at the ready to take the helm. I am pleased to inform you that the Board of Trustees has appointed Senior Vice President of Finance & Administration Dave Proulx to serve as our interim president from July 1 until the arrival of our 18th president.

Anyone who has had the pleasure of working with Dave knows that he is deeply committed to our cherished institution. Since joining our community in 2018, after 25 years of working in higher education, Dave has worked tirelessly to significantly improve RISD’s financial and administrative processes, promote transparency in RISD’s financial management and budget, and create structures to provide community input on financial and administrative decisions. During the pandemic, Dave helped us persevere through the greatest financial and operational challenge in our history. As our interim president, he will focus on a successful opening of the campus in Fall 2021 and continued progress on RISD’s strategic plan.  The Board and I have every confidence that Dave will expertly guide us forward while our presidential search is underway.

We extend our deep gratitude to Dave for stepping into this critical role, and to President Somerson as she works closely with Dave to prepare for a smooth transition.

With campus in full bloom and the end of the year fast approaching, the Board and I extend our best wishes to our students as they complete the semester. We also want to thank our over 1,250 brilliant full- and part-time faculty, curators  and staff along with the dedicated administrative leaders who always find ways to nourish, educate and tend to our students. In the coming weeks we look forward to celebrating our graduating students and their families, and President Somerson as she prepares to retire.

Yours in Art + Design,

Michael Spalter