The New President of the Rhode Island School of Design

RosanneSomersontRosanne Somerson was named the 17th president of the Rhode Island School of Design (RISD) in Providence. The school, considered one of the leading educational institutions of design in the world, enrolls about 2,000 undergraduate students and 400 graduate students. Women make up 66 percent of the undergraduate student body.

Somerson has been serving as interim president since January 1, 2014. Previously, she was provost and served for 16 years as chair of the department of furniture design.

Michael Spalter, chair of the RISD board of trustees, said that “President Somerson is a gifted, inspiring leader with great integrity, humility and vision, and is the perfect fit for RISD. Her experiences as a RISD student, alumna, faculty member, department head, provost and interim president provide a depth of knowledge and almost instinctive understanding of the institution that no other candidate could match. She has also shown the collaborative leadership style and informed vision RISD needs to expand its role in advancing global innovation in the 21st century.”

President Somerson is a 1976 graduate of the Rhode Island School of Design. She joined the faculty at the school in 1985.

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