The Rhode Island School of Design’s (RISD) President John Maeda has accepted a position as Design Partner at Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers in California. He will be leaving his position at the end of the fall semester.The Presidents of all of Rhode Island’s stellar colleges and universities play a major role in shaping the State’s future. President Maeda certainly did that in a positive way during his six years here.While at the helm of RISD, applications to the school and financial aid to students increased, which allowed the design school to boast of more diverse classes. He brought to our State an unyielding vision that “art and design transform our economy and bring meaning to our lives.” As the leader of the preeminent art and design institution of higher education, he was able to continue and enhance his forward-thinking work at how the intersection of design, technology, and business can benefit the human experience. He has led the charge to turn STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) into STEAM by adding an A for Art.Under his watch, in late 2012, Business Insider named RISD the No. 1 design school in the world. John Maeda leaves the school in good standing and a better place. Through his hard work, he has made RISD a more innovative and creative college. I personally wish him the very best in his new pursuit on the West Coast.
In 2011, my first year celebrating December in the State House I gave a simple six word instruction to the planners of the annual tree lighting: “Do what they did last year.”Despite the myriad of pressing issues facing Rhode Island and the nation, this presumably happy event became a focal point for too much anger. Strangely lost in the brouhaha was any intellectual discussion of the liberties pioneered here in Rhode Island 350 years ago in our Charter. Because I do not think how we address the State House tree affects our “lively experiment,” this year’s invitation calls the tree a Christmas tree.Secretary of State Mollis has offered to light the tree, and I have accepted his gracious offer. The tree lighting will begin on Thursday (December 5, 2013) at 5 p.m. in the State House rotunda. Once again, our many thanks to all those who have worked hard to make our State House festive.
To honor the memory of former State Attorney General Herbert F. DeSimone, Sr., Governor Chafee has ordered all Rhode Island flags across the State to half-staff until Attorney General DeSimone is laid to rest. Governor Chafee’s order applies to State flags on all public buildings in the State of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations.