RISD Board of Trustees Names Dave Proulx Interim President

May 19, 2021

Proulx, currently the college’s senior vice president of finance & administration, will step into the position on July 1 upon the retirement of President Rosanne Somerson and serve while the presidential search continues.

PROVIDENCE, RI - Rhode Island School of Design’s Board of Trustees has appointed Dave Proulx to serve as the institution's interim president upon the retirement of President Rosanne Somerson at the end of June. Proulx will lead the institution while the search for RISD’s 18th president is underway. 

“Anyone who has had the pleasure of working with Dave knows that he is deeply committed to our cherished institution,” said RISD Board of Trustees Chair Michael Spalter. “Since joining our community in 2018, 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.”

Proulx has 28 years of experience working in higher education. Before coming to RISD, he served for six years as vice president of finance and administration, treasurer, and special advisor to the president for revenue at Franklin & Marshall College, where he oversaw all areas of financial management, human resources, facilities and operations, auxiliary services, information technology services and public safety. Prior to his time at Franklin & Marshall, Proulx spent 14 years at the University of New Hampshire (UNH), where he led the implementation of a complete restructuring of the university's budget management process before assuming the role of associate vice president for finance. At UNH he also served as interim associate vice president for human resources and was the point person for an affiliation agreement between the university and Franklin Pierce Law Center (now the UNH School of Law), and he co-taught a business course for several years. Proulx is a native of Bedford, NH and earned a bachelor’s degree in business administration and an MBA from the University of New Hampshire. He also completed the Management Development Program at the Harvard University Graduate School of Education. 

RISD launched an international search for its 18th president in the winter upon the announcement of President Somerson’s retirement. A search committee co-chaired by four members of the Board of Trustees is leading the search, with each member bringing unique perspectives as artists, designers, business leaders and RISD students, faculty, staff, alumni and parents. More information is available at: www.risd.edu/about/presidential-search 

About Rhode Island School of Design
RISD’s mission, through its college and museum, is to educate students and the public in the creation and appreciation of works of art and design, to discover and transmit knowledge and to make lasting contributions to a global society through critical thinking, scholarship and innovation. The college’s strategic plan NEXT: RISD 2020–2027 sets an ambitious vision for educating students for the future and bringing creative practices to bear on the creation of just societies, a sustainable planet and new ways of making and knowing. RISD’s immersive model of art and design education, which emphasizes critical making through studio-based learning and robust study in the liberal arts, prepares students to intervene in the critical challenges of our time. Working with exceptional faculty and in extraordinary specialized facilities, 2,225 students from 60 countries engage in 44 full-time bachelor's and master's degree programs. RISD’s 30,000 alumni worldwide testify to the impact of this model of education, exemplifying the vital role artists and designers play in today’s society. Founded in 1877, RISD (pronounced “RIZ-dee”) and the RISD Museum help make Providence, RI among the most culturally active and creative cities in the region. Find more information at risd.edu.