Art School(ed): Meet the new boss, same as the old boss

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The RISD Board of Trustees and their search committee have been working since former President John Maeda’s abrupt departure in December 2014 to find the next president of the Rhode Island School of Design.

Today, Chairman of the Board Michael Spalter announced that current interim president Rosanne Somerson has been named RISD’s 17th permanent president. In Michael Spalter’s school-wide email, he listed Somerson’s many qualifications given the RISD path she has paved for herself, “having previously risen from [Industrial Design] student to alumna and practicing designer to part-time faculty member to full-time faculty member to graduate program director to co-founder and long-time department head of our Furniture Design department to interim associate provost to interim provost to provost to interim president.”

Somerson can finally get comfortable in that historic 21-room, three-story house on Bowen Street. To learn more about RISD’s new and fearless leader, check out

The Who once said, “meet the new boss, same as the old boss,” and that is music to RISD’s ears!

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