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Massachusetts College of Art and Design Announces David P. Nelson Will Step Down as President

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Provost and Senior Vice President Kymberly N. Pinder to Serve as Interim President During Leadership Search

Boston, MA – Massachusetts College of Art and Design (MassArt) has announced that David P. Nelson is stepping down as President. Nelson plans to return to North Carolina where he will begin a new professional opportunity as President of Catawba College. Provost and Senior Vice President of Academic Affairs Dr. Kymberly N. Pinder has been appointed Interim President effective June 15, 2020, and will lead MassArt while the Board conducts a search for a permanent successor.

“We are grateful for David Nelson’s four years of service to MassArt. Under David’s thoughtful and strategic leadership, the College experienced many highlights, including the opening of the MassArt Art Museum (MAAM) and the launch of the College’s comprehensive five year strategic plan,” said Janice M. Saragoni, Chair of the MassArt Board of Trustees. “The Board unanimously supports Kymberly Pinder as our Interim President and we are confident that with her depth of academic and administrative expertise, she is well positioned to successfully lead the College during this transition.”

Dr. David P. Nelson is the 12th president of Massachusetts College of Art and Design and has more than 19 years of experience in higher education in administrative and academic roles. Prior to his arrival at MassArt, President Nelson served as Provost and Chief Academic Officer at the University of North Carolina School of the Arts (UNCSA), the country’s first state supported performing arts school, from 2010 to 2016.

Dr. Kymberly N. Pinder was recruited as MassArt Provost and Senior Vice President of Academic Affairs following a twelve-month national search, and took up her post in January 2019. Dr. Pinder’s career in higher education spans more than 26 years, in administrative and faculty roles with the University of New Mexico, the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, and Middlebury College, among other institutions. She served as the Dean of the College of Fine Arts at the University of New Mexico (UNM) from 2012 to 2019, overseeing the state’s largest fine arts program, which offers more than 30 undergraduate and graduate degrees in the disciplines of art, music, theater and dance, and cinematic arts. She also served as Interim Director and Curator of the UNM Art Museum from 2014 to 2016. Dr. Pinder received her Doctor of Philosophy, Master of Philosophy, and Master of Arts degrees from Yale University, and a Bachelor of Arts from Middlebury College, all in Art History.


About MassArt

Massachusetts College of Art and Design (MassArt) is a public, independent institution that prepares artists, designers, and educators from diverse backgrounds to shape communities, economies, and cultures for the common good. One of the top colleges of its kind in the United States since its founding in 1873, MassArt has built a legacy of leadership as the first freestanding public college of art and design in the country, and the nation’s first art school to grant a degree. The College offers a comprehensive range of undergraduate and graduate degrees in art, design, and art education, all taught by world-class faculty. MassArt is also home to MassArt Art Museum (MAAM), opening February 2020. Formerly the Bakalar & Paine Galleries, MAAM is MassArt’s free contemporary art museum, professionally curated to enrich the academic curriculum and make contemporary art an accessible experience for all. Among MassArt’s most accomplished alumni are designer Brian Collins, multimedia artist Sam Durant, art dealer Arne Glimcher, Oscar-winning set designer Nancy Haigh, visual artist and composer Christian Marclay, 2016 Project Runway winner Erin Robertson, interior and lifestyle designer Kelly Wearstler, and conceptual artist William Wegman. To learn more, please visit

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