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Minneapolis, April 30, 2019—The Minneapolis College of Art and Design (MCAD) has named Sanjit Sethi as its next president. Sethi, an artist and academic who most recently directed the Corcoran School of the Arts and Design at George Washington University (GWU), will take office on July 15. He succeeds Jay Coogan, who served as president of MCAD for nine years until September 2018, and Karen Wirth, interim president this past year.

“Sanjit Sethi has dedicated himself to art and design education with the belief that innovation, diversity, and a global perspective are key to vibrant creative communities,” said Greg Heinemann, MCAD board chair. “He is an educator and cultural academic leader with a broad range of experiences who is poised to lead MCAD into the future. We are thrilled to have him join the MCAD community as its new leader.”

Photo credit George Washington University

With two decades of experience ranging from directing a major art and design school to running an interdisciplinary art center, Sethi is poised to lead MCAD’s future growth. One of the central goals of his tenure will be to continue to work to create a more sustainable, diverse, and inclusive community in all facets of the institution. His overarching charge as president will be to advance the institution, increase its visibility and impact, and foster student success. 

“Sanjit Sethi strongly impressed the entire search committee with his deep commitment as an educator to creative expression and problem-solving in highly diverse communities and settings. His ability to listen and build excitement around new opportunities stood out as well,” commented David Moore, Jr., the search committee’s chair.

Sethi joins MCAD at a time of stability and record enrollment for the institution. MCAD is recognized nationally and internationally for its innovative approaches to art and design education. Founded in 1886, MCAD is Minnesota’s only four-year non-profit, independent, accredited college of art and design.

“I am honored to become a part of the incredible legacy of leaders at MCAD, and I hope to bring my insights and passion to collaborate with this remarkable community,” said Sethi. “I believe that MCAD is a unique environment of committed students, faculty, staff, alumni, and trustees who are all dedicated to building something greater than the sum of its parts.”

During his tenure at the Corcoran, Sethi oversaw the reincarnation of a historic art and design college at a major research university. Among his many accomplishments, Sethi moved the college across the traditional boundaries of higher education to invest in creative partnerships. Sethi launched new degree programs such as an MA in Interaction Design with both a public policy and social entrepreneurial track, and an MFA in Social Practices/Public Policy in collaboration with the Trachtenberg School for Public Policy. In addition to academic and programmatic stewardship at the Corcoran, Sethi worked closely with architects, contractors and GWU administrators on the $47.5 million renovation of the school’s historic Flagg building. 

Prior to the Corcoran, Sethi served in a variety of arts leadership positions, including Director of the MFA program at the Memphis College of Art; Director of the Center for Art and Public Life, Barclay Simpson Professor, and Chair of Community Arts at the California College of the Arts; and Executive Director of the Santa Fe Art Institute. Sethi received a BFA from Alfred University, an MFA in Ceramics from the University of Georgia, and he holds an MS in Advanced Visual Studies from MIT. Sethi has been awarded numerous grants and fellowships, including a Fulbright fellowship in Bangalore, India. As an artist and curator, Sethi’s work has spanned different media and geographies. Past works include the Kuni Wada Bakery Remembrance; Richmond Voting Stories; the Gypsy Bridge project. Recent curatorial projects have included Spiked: The Unpublished Political Cartoons of Rob Rogers and the upcoming exhibition, 6.13.89 The Cancelling of the Mapplethorpe Exhibition. Additionally, Sethi is currently working on the Portland Hospice Potters Network and a body of paintings and drawings—the Delta Series. Sethi moves to Minneapolis with his partner Cristin, an art historian, curator and educator, and their two children.

About the Minneapolis College of Art and Design

Recognized nationally and internationally for its innovative and interdisciplinary approaches to visual arts education, the Minneapolis College of Art and Design is home to more than 800 students and offers bachelors degrees, masters degrees, and continuing education courses for all ages in arts entrepreneurship, design, fine arts, and media.

Interviews Available

Sanjit Sethi, incoming President of MCAD
Greg Heinemann, MCAD Board of Trustees

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