John Maeda (watch his 2007 TEDTalk) has been named the next president of the Rhode Island School of Design. An artist and a coder, Maeda is an enthusiastic connector of art and technology. In his supercool announcement video, he gives a sense of where he hopes to lead the school, saying:
Technology has outpaced humanity, I wouldn’t say tenfold, I’d say a millionfold. … Meanwhile, we’re still trying to figure out, what is this stuff for? I think that arts have to advance the culture of knowledge around technology. It hasn’t happened yet, but it has to happen.
Maeda will take over in June 2008 from fellow TEDster Roger Mandle, who led the school for 15 years. Aside from growing the school and its endowment, and thus creating opportunities for more students around the world to get an arts and design education, Mandle worked to link RISD with the world, dovetailing with — and driving — the design boom of the past two decades. RISD’s deep civic engagement with its hometown of Providence has led to both economic and artistic benefits — showing a generation of students how design and the arts can be socially engaged.