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Proulx Takes The Helm

Proulx Takes the Helm

Interim President Dave Proulx pledges to build on community-driven momentum as he leads RISD through its presidential transition.

head shot of Dave Proulx

Interim President Dave Proulx steps into his new position on July 1.

As RISD gears up for a “near normal” fall semester and the search for a long-term president continues, Interim President Dave Proulx takes the helm with confidence that the upcoming months will be productive ones. 

“We are coming out of the most challenging year in RISD’s history,” he notes, “but I am confident that with the team we have, the community approach we will take and support from the Board of Trustees, we can advance RISD’s mission and set the stage for the next president’s success.”  

“I am confident that... we can advance RISD’s mission and set the stage for the next president’s success.”  

Interim President Dave Proulx

In the three years prior to taking on the role of interim president, Proulx has served as RISD’s senior vice president of finance and administration, leading the campus-wide budget overhaul that allowed the institution to weather a $50 million+ deficit triggered by the COVID-19 pandemic. He’ll continue to serve in that role in the months ahead in addition to taking on the interim presidency. 

view of risd campus from the river
photo by George Gray


“Since joining our community in 2018, Dave has worked tirelessly to significantly improve RISD’s financial and administrative processes,” says Board of Trustees Chair Michael Spalter. “During the pandemic, he helped us persevere through the greatest financial and operational challenge in our history.”

“Since joining our community in 2018, Dave has worked tirelessly to significantly improve RISD’s financial and administrative processes.”

Board Chair Michael Spalter

Prior to joining the staff at RISD, Proulx served for six years as vice president of finance and administration, treasurer and special advisor to the president at Franklin & Marshall College in Lancaster, PA. Before that he worked at the University of New Hampshire, where he helped to restructure the budget management process before assuming the role of associate vice president for finance. 

He is a native of Bedford, NH and earned a bachelor’s degree in business administration and an MBA from the University of New Hampshire before completing the Management Development Program at the Harvard University Graduate School of Education. 

students walk past "RISD beach" on a fine spring day
photo by George Gray


Proulx says that in the weeks ahead he will build on the many successes of President Emerita Rosanne Somerson 76 ID, using the current strategic plan, NEXT: RISD 2020-2027, as a roadmap. Near-team goals include advancing the college’s SEI and Campus Master plans, working with partners on new and ongoing research projects and building non-tuition revenue through burgeoning programs like RISD Expanded Education.

“It is an exciting time to be at RISD,” Proulx says. “The shared sacrifices of the entire community allowed students to continue on their path toward reaching their academic goals and demonstrated that we are resilient and can manage any challenge thrown our way. I look forward to leading this important work in the coming months as the search for RISD's 18th president continues.”

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