John Maeda Finishes His Prep Before Taking Over at RISD


Now that John Maeda is just a few days away from taking over as president of the Rhode Island School of Design (which you might remember us reporting on when he was named as such), we found this piece, thanks to Design Info, by the Wall Street Journal about Maeda’s preparing for his new, high-profile role. There’s a lot of “get to know John” biography therein, as to be expected with any major paper profile, but the sections about his going to Harvard for presidential boot camp over the summer and what he plans to do at RISD once he’s there is well worth the price of admission. If only our school presidents had been this cool. Here’s a bit:

Is all this a charming anachronism? Mr. Maeda’s plan is “to make a justifiable case for creativity in the world.” He wants to shatter the stereotype of the starving artist and show how RISD makes the case for the entrepreneurial artist. “People fall into a spectrum about how commercial they want to be, and that’s perfect. I just want to give students the tools to engage in the larger world and at the same time remain honest to what RISD has been.” It remains to be seen whether RISD students can write computer programming the way they create sculpture — and whether they even want to.