Left to right: Joy Brathwaite, Cindy Theis, Gerald Ronning, Karen Wirth, Melissa Huybrecht, Sarah Harding, and Jen Zuccola

September 17, 2018

Dear MCAD Community,

I am excited to begin my tenure as interim president of MCAD starting today. It is an honor to serve the college in this new capacity. For the past fifteen years here, I have worked alongside hundreds of people—staff, faculty, students, and board members, who share a deep commitment to the college. Together we do the questioning, prototyping, and problem-solving that keeps us moving forward and envisioning the future for MCAD students.

I’d like to take this opportunity to introduce you to the senior management team, the President’s Advisory Committee (PAC). It is one of many formal planning groups who meet on a regular basis. PAC includes (in photo, left to right):

  • Joy Brathwaite, VP Finance/CFO
  • Cindy Theis, VP Institutional Advancement
  • Gerald Ronning, Interim Vice President of Academic Affairs/CAO
  • Karen Wirth, Interim President/CEO
  • Melissa Huybrecht, VP Enrollment Management
  • Sarah Harding, Executive Assistant
  • Jen Zuccola, VP Student Affairs

For the past year, we have been working towards a new strategic direction, dreaming about what is possible and assessing how to make that happen. Listening sessions with all constituent groups were led by MCAD's previous president, Jay Coogan, and drafts have been shared. I am pleased to be working with teams this fall to develop the drafts into a plan that will help guide us for the next few years, including through a smooth transition to the next president of MCAD.

Also coming up this fall is an exciting full slate of visiting artists and events, from an artist panel discussing creative practice and lectures on arts entrepreneurship and sustainable design, to visiting artist presentations and, of course, the annual MCAD Art Sale.

Last weekend, there were receptions for three exhibitions that showcase MCAD at its finest: the 2018 Faculty Biennial displaying the broad range of visual research and scholarship that full- and part-time faculty share with students; The Back of Beyond, an MFA exhibition that welcomed new students into the graduate community; and One World Over: An Illustration and Comics Focused Show, a student-curated exhibition featuring work by illustration and comics undergraduates. It was a fantastic moment of being surrounded by the people, the thinking, the making, the work of what we do together every day. Please visit us and see all MCAD has to offer this fall.

Finally, I am both humbled and proud to serve as the interim president of the Minneapolis College of Art and Design at this important time in our history. I stand on the shoulders of many who have served in leadership roles before me. While the curriculum has changed over time, our dedication to active learning, challenging yet supportive teaching, and student success has not. I look forward to continuing that tradition.


Karen Wirth
MCAD Interim President