Rhode Island School of Design’s Board of Trustees Elects New Members
August 16, 2023
Ryan Cunningham and Geetanjali Kirloskar to serve as Term Trustees; Sonja O’Donnell named Ex Officio
PROVIDENCE, RI – August 16, 2023 – The Board of Trustees at Rhode Island School of Design (RISD) is proud to announce the election of Ryan Cunningham (BFA 02 Film/Animation/Video) and Geetanjali Kirloskar as its newest term trustees. They will each serve a three-year term through May 2026.
“RISD’s newest trustees, Ryan Cunningham and Geetanjali Kirloskar, bring invaluable skills and perspective to our board. Each has a meaningful connection to RISD and a conviction to seeing the institution continue to thrive and evolve into the future,” said RISD Board Co-Chairs Hillary Blumberg (BFA 92 Film/Animation/Video) and Ilene Chaiken (BFA 79 Graphic Design/Parent 18). “As RISD gears up to celebrate its 150th anniversary in 2027, we are extremely fortunate and grateful to add Ryan’s deep understanding of the school and Geetanjali’s global presence in the world to our trusteeship. We thank both of these exceptional individuals for undertaking their dedicated service to RISD and for their support of President Crystal Williams and her vision for the future of our beloved institution.”
The experiences and accomplishments of RISD’s new term trustees include:
Ryan Elizabeth Cunningham is a queer writer/director and Emmy and Peabody award-winning producer. She recently launched the development company Running Woman with the goal of telling stories that haven’t been heard before. She is passionate about promoting women’s issues, LGBTQ+ stories and neurodiversity in her work. Recent projects include Expecting Amy (HBO Max) about Amy Schumer’s pregnancy, and the standup specials Ilana Glazer: The Planet Is Burning (Amazon) and Club Cumming Presents a Queer Comedy Extravaganza! (Showtime), hosted by Alan Cumming. She also directed Sam Morrison’s critically acclaimed Sugar Daddy for its off-Broadway run at SoHo Playhouse in early 2023. A RISD alum, Cunningham is co-chair of the RISD Fund and is currently teaching in RISD’s Film/Animation/Video department. She lives in Brooklyn with her daughter who is on the autism spectrum and likes to build large art installations in their apartment.
Geetanjali Kirloskar is chair and managing director of Kirloskar Systems, chair of Toyota Tsusho Insurance Brokers India, director of Kirloskar Proprietary and an honorary consul of Finland. She has a deep passion for social development and has been actively engaged in socially conscious healthcare initiatives for many years. She also promotes dialogue in the arts and culture via such enterprises as the nonprofit India-Japan Initiative, which she founded in 2000. Prior to the passing of her late husband Vikram Kirloskar in 2022, she ran Pratibha Advertising for 10 years and served as president of Quadrant Communications. She currently serves on the boards of the India Brand Equity Fund, India’s Ministry of Industries and Government and the India Japan Business Council run by the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI). She lives in Bangalore.
Also new to the Board this year is Sonja O’Donnell (Parent 22), chair, Families Association Leadership Council, who joins the Board as an Ex Officio trustee.
Officers of RISD’s Board of Trustees include Co-Chairs Blumberg and Chaiken, as well as Karen Hammond, Jon Kamen (Parent 09) and Tavares Strachan (BFA 03 Glass). More information about the board, including the complete current list of members, can be found here.
About Rhode Island School of Design
RISD (pronounced “RIZ-dee”) is a creative community founded in 1877 in Providence, Rhode Island. Today, we enroll 2,620 students hailing from 59 countries. Led by a committed faculty, they are engaged in 44 full-time bachelor’s and master’s degree programs and supported by a worldwide network of over 31,000 alumni who demonstrate the vital role artists and designers play in today’s society.
Beyond facts and figures, what is the spirit of this community? Through a cross-disciplinary curriculum of studio-based learning and rigorous study in the liberal arts, RISD students are encouraged to develop their own personal creative processes, but they are united by one guiding principle: in order to create, one must question. In cultivating expansive and elastic thinking, RISD seeks to activate a critical exchange that empowers artists, designers and scholars to generate and challenge the ideas that shape our world. RISD’s mission, at both the college and museum, is not only to educate students and the public in the creation and appreciation of works of art and design, but to transmit that knowledge and make global contributions.
Senior Director, Public Relations / RISD