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Thursday, October 9, 2008


Pasadena, Calif., October 9, 2008 – The Board of Trustees of Art Center College of Design announced today the appointment of Dr. Frank L. Ellsworth as Interim President of the College. Dr. Ellsworth’s appointment is effective immediately and will extend through the ongoing search for a permanent president, which is anticipated by the end of 2009.

In a career spanning over forty years, Dr. Ellsworth brings a broad range of experience in higher education, the arts, fundraising, nonprofit management, and governance. During his academic career he served as President of Pitzer College, as the youngest president in the history of The Claremont Colleges; President of the Independent Colleges of Southern California; and most recently, President of The Japan Society in New York City. He has combined teaching and administration at these and a diverse number of academic institutions, including Columbia University, Sarah Lawrence College, Pennsylvania State University, and The University of Chicago, where he served as Assistant Dean in the Law School.

Active in cultural and community affairs, Dr. Ellsworth currently serves on several boards, including Give2Asia, The Paul Taylor Dance Foundation, Global Partners Institute, and the American Friends, National Portrait Gallery (London).

Dr. Ellsworth received his A.B. cum laude from Adelbert College, Case Western University; his M.Ed. from Pennsylvania State University and his M.A. from Columbia University; and his Ph.D. from the University of Chicago. He has also received two honorary Doctor of Law degrees from Pepperdine University and Southwestern University School of Law.

In making the announcement, John Puerner, Chairman of The Board of Trustees said, “On behalf of the Board of Trustees, we are very pleased to have Frank join us as Interim President and provide ongoing momentum for Art Center during this transition period. We are confident that Frank’s diverse background combined with his deep knowledge of higher education will be very valuable as we continue to move the College’s agenda forward. We look forward to his contributions and leadership.”

Dr. Ellsworth said, “The reputation of the faculty of Art Center College of Design is long standing and outstanding. The graduates reflect admirably on this small, vibrant College and their influence permeates the lives of people throughout the world. I am honored to be able to play a role.”


Update from the Presidential Search Committee (9/29/08)

At today's meeting of the Presidential Search Committee, three search firms were interviewed. These firms — which were selected from an initial group of six well-respected firms that had submitted proposals — are all internationally-recognized, have impressive track records of success, and clearly understand the depth, breadth and scope of search that Art Center requires.

The Search Committee will make their decision within the next few days and will meet with the selected firm next week. The search firm will then meet with the Board of Trustees and report on their progress at the October 23 Board meeting.

The Search Committee will issue periodic updates when additional milestones have been achieved in the search for a new permanent President for Art Center.


Ophelia Chong said...

From Grantmaker to Leader: Emerging Strategies for Twenty-First Century Foundations by by Frank L. Ellsworth

Seasoned foundation executives Frank Ellsworth and Joseph Lumarda assemble an all-star roster of insider contributors, dividing their trenchant study into three sections. "From Carnegie to Gates: The Changing Faces and Needs of Philanthropy" examines the history of family and community foundations and how the turmoil of the "New Economy" will affect these organizations in the future. Section Two, "The Foundation's New Reach: The Emerging Role of Leader, Communicator, and Facilitator of Change" addresses the critical responsibility of effectively articulating a foundation's message, showing how messages can successfully penetrate the media. Finally, the third section "Building the Foundation Board of the 21st Century: Diversity and Strategic Planning" analyzes all aspects of foundation boards of directors, including their makeup, responsibilities, backgrounds, necessary diversity, and the role of boards in foundation planning. Throughout all three sections, From Grantmaker to Leader tackles all the critical issues facing philanthropic foundations today, such as:
* Transfer of wealth
* Legislative concerns
* IRS audits
* The role of foundations in public policy issues, such as campaign spending
* Accountability
* Planned giving
* Assessment of the effectiveness of giving
* Socially responsible investment and social return on investment

Anonymous said...

I've always been curious to see how the leader of a "real" college would react to the organizational and financial culture of Art Center. No past leader of Art Center has ever had any previous educational leadership experience (aside from Art Center). I suspect that Ellsworth will have some serious feedback for these guys.

Anonymous said...

I hope you brought your Red Pen Dr. Ellsworth!

Please bring our operations back to a lean sytem because as soon as you leave eveyone will start making room in their budgets for assistants.

How many people does it really take to give 1400 students a world class education?

one angry student

Ophelia Chong said...

Question: Why are executive administration still traveling to Barcelona (in the next two weeks)?

With what this trip could cost ACCD, can we use the money for maintenance? To fix the broken tile? The rusting guard rail on the bridge?

Anonymous said...

They're going to Barcelona to "Spread the wealth around" a little bit.

Anonymous said...

After a little over a week on the job, the new president (interim) is already traveling!

That's just the way it is. The most things change...

Anonymous said...

Stick a fork in her, she's done.

Future of Art Center said...

Reports are that Dr. Ellsworth is bringing a very good approach to the table - in his first week he met with the student and faculty reps in what were apparently quite positive meetings. For the first time in a long time, there seems to be someone in charge who actually understands education and how it works.

So give him a chance and don't judge unless you have direct information.

Ophelia Chong said...

The executive administrator going to Barcelona is not Dr. Ellsworth.

Anonymous said...

im not sure we're going to see any real change with Ellsworth, since he's interim pres... dont interim types typicallyl just keep the boat afloat until the new pres comes on board? i always thought no real change comes until the "real" president comes into power....then the housecleaning begins.

Anonymous said...

As interim president, Ellsworth could put certain projects and spending on hold. He could try to rein in some of the extraneous stuff, in his espert opinion as to what is extraneous.

Ophelia, that's encouraging news about the first meetings.

Anonymous said...

Why is anyone going to Barcelona at all? Who and why?

Anonymous said...

No one is going to Barcelona. That's very old news, circa March 2008, and it got recycled here for the hell of it!

Fugitive Colors said...

Wow, that's good to hear, because a reliable source told me Nik and Erica were scheduled to go to Barcelona next week.

Anonymous said...

Ophelia your are courageous and we love what you have done. As for the person who blasted you on your personal blog I think it is clear where this is coming from. This looks just like the irrational manipulative rhetoric that made Koshalek look so bad when the spotlight was put on his agenda and track record.

Dear person who wishes to remain anonymous while nearly harassing Ophelia on her blog.
Your blast reminds me of a spoiled child, It is clear to me that you are having a hard time accepting reality of this Art Center Dilemma.

Let that be a lesson that there is no such thing as a free ride for you and the others in academia and bureaucracy who have taken the youth of today on a financial road to ruin.

I've offered feedback on some of your most intelligent statements:

"And you helped hang good people who were on your side and doing great stuff for us."
First of all who is us? The 300 AIA members who signed the honesty first petition?

"There not putting education first there putting the bottom line first."
The bottom line first is the side we all should be on, I can't believe you wrote that. Don't tell me non-conservative fiscal management is a bad thing. You do read the papers don't you?

"Slashed will be anything for students-all the cool programs we had in place, the new housing,and its going to be even tougher to get scholarship money now"
BTW; The programs you, especially you helped to create were terrible to be honest, They were more marketing spin than content, we all know it. As for the the housing, it is/was a rip off and not at all a strategic use of the schools assets.

"Do you even understand what kind of conservative forces you and your stupid friends unleashed at our school!?"
Do you realize the % of tuition dollars that went to executive compensation doubled the past 9 years, and education budget % is down by 1/3.

"Now we have a conservative board of accountants running the school"
It's about time... The standard practice has been to put creative minds into debt bondage and that has damaging effects on creativity and entrepreneurship.

"The Presidents job isn't about just education-there are larger ideas at play."
Please tell me, oh wise one, no, let me guess the board is there only to raise tuition and hire headhunters, accountants and consultants.

"Something as complex as this institution."
Now I know you are administrative stock ....Whoa, educate 1500 students, Reeeal complex, Perhaps it was complex after the HUGE administation of bit off more than it could chew.

"And are they even letting a student rep at the board meetings yet? not going to happen."
Only the faculty council has had this privilege beyond a briefing

Yes, I'm biased and yes I support the Red Pen.

Ophelia Chong said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Ophelia Chong said...

Thank you FOAC for the supportive words. I address "Ben" on my personal blog, where he/she first posted the comment http://www.opheliaswims.com/blog/?p=569

Ophelia Chong said...

I debated on whether to post the "comment", but then I thought "hey, they put it up in a public forum, so it's not like they were hiding it or sent it to me directly through an email"

So here it is in it's entirety: The Letter

Anonymous said...

Sounds like this person had a lot of valuable information (or at least rhetoric) to potentially contribute back in May. He (or she) seems to believe that we were all led astray by erroneous information and that innocent people have been harmed. A lot of damn good that does NOW. Where the hell was this person when the discussion was more relevant? Probably hard at work padding the rolls of the "honesty first" petition.

Alternate Energy said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous said...


Oh wow. I'm just reading this and realizing what a bunch of feral control freaks you're dealing with.

I get the feeling people are more interested in personal prestige then they are about actually building a constructive environment.

Ophelia Chong said...

It doesn't bother me that they called me names, what did bother me is that they could've talked to me in person and told me how they felt. If they had read what I posted on Nathan's and on FOAC, they would know that I have been supportive of ACCD, tried to keep people on track and called people out for slanderous remarks. My disagreements were with the administration and where they were headed. We could've talked and at least heard each other out.I made myself available to both administration, faculty, students and alumni. And in person, I am the least threatening thing you ever seen.

Ophelia Chong said...

And now back to what we need to talk about, ACCD.

Ophelia Chong said...

i took one post on my site down, we can't assume who wrote it and to accuse someone without cause is not right.

The writer was angry, and should use that anger in a more constructive way other than to write angry letters.

Never write what you can't say in person is a good rule.

Anonymous said...

If the person who is purported to have written it... really did write it, it should be noted that this person has a PhD from an Ivy League University.

Anonymous said...

Why does ACCD's recruiter only go to Korea? Nothing against Korean students, but is there a reason he does't go to Europe, across the U.S., or to Africa to look for talent?

Is it because of money?
I had to take an english class in my 1st term to 'make sure everybody can communicate well'. How come I can't even communicate with half the students because they can't speak well english?

Ophelia Chong said...

Mr. Emanuel (Rep. Illinois) and future Chief of State in Sen.Obama's new presidency, on Face the Nation said:
"Rule one: Never allow a crisis to go to waste...They are opportunities to do big things."

This is what we have to do at ACCD as well. To take this opportunity to take ACCD into the future and not to tie ourselves down to the past.

Anonymous said...

Everyone keeps wondering why the board and administration fails to communicate on events leading up to (and after) Koshalek's departure. I think what needs to be understood is that silence is a form of communication in and of itself.

They think so poorly of us (blaming us for their troubles) that they can't possibly bring themselves to communicate at all.

Art Center is changing, and that change was forced upon the leadership. They're not happy about it. Had the students and alumni said nothing after Nate Young left, Koshalek would be sitting on a new contract right now.

Ophelia, you might feel good about the changes that are afoot, but understand that Koshalek and his kid are not the only ones feeling bitter about things.

Ophelia Chong said...

to 11/10/08 9:10 AM

Of course there are many sides to every event, pro, con, center.

I fall strongly on one side, but I try to walk the center line. I understand and I have been open to both sides. These are hard times and we are not the only one in this situation. AIG, the car industry, housing, banking, it's spread across the board. If people live in a vacuum they will only suffer more when that bubble bursts. Outside these walls the world spins regardless of what is happening in that small sphere.

Bitter? There are a lot of bitter people out there, but there is a majority of people who voted last week for change. You could say that ACCD is a microcosm of what is occurring outside.

We had a government that was closed and opaque, an administration that worked on it's own agenda regardless of the people. Now we are in the position to take the crisis we are in and to bring good out of it. Together with hard work, we can do it. And to quote Sen. Obama "Yes We Can".

Future of Art Center said...

Looks like the planning department/architecture group was let go except for one person.

Anonymous said...

Most interesting is that Art Center often outsources design (like the corporate logo and catalog) despite having more designers on-staff than most major corporations 100 times its size, and then they INsource things such as architecture and planning. How often does Art Center go and build a new building? Don't stop at getting rid of the planners and architects. Go after their enabler (Patricia Oliver).

Future of Art Center said...

A few facts:

The firm on the east coast that was designing the catalog and and "new" logotype was let go a couple months ago. I don't think we'll be seeing the kinds of external design fees like that company got happening again.

Patricia Oliver was let go last week along with two other members of the architecture/planning office. There is now one architect left and an assistant. They are working on South Campus changes currently under construction, future planning for upgrades to the Ellwood building (earthquake, etc.), the potential dorms (to be financed by an outside developer), and other facilities issues.

So there are a lot of changes going on. It is an unsure and stressful time for the college. No one likes to see people lose their jobs, and the instability that these changes create (loss of long-time institutional knowledge, disruption of projects, lack of leadership, political intrigue, etc.) make everyone's job more complicated.

At least from our perspective, this is a time to look to the long-term future and health of the college, avoid slamming individual people, and guarding against hasty or mistaken moves by Ellsworth. Even if the overall moves by Ellsworth are good, those advising him may have their own agendas that don't necessarily have the best interest of the school in mind. We all need to be on the side of the school rather than fighting old battles. The ghosts of Nate, Richard and others should not be driving the decision making.

Anonymous said...

"I don't think we'll be seeing the kinds of external design fees like that company got happening again."

Why not? Other than a (strictly interim) president with an active red-pen, what strategic shift in long-term financial philosophy has anyone seen yet? The same board that enabled past leadership to think so "globally" is the same one in place today.

Don't lose sleep over the architecture and planning office person getting chopped. That person spearheaded the "honesty-first" counter-disinformation petition.

I don't worry too much about Ellsworth's decisions being too influenced by internal lobbying efforts right now. The architecture office was low-hanging fruit. Clearly he has his red pen in hand. Before you can expect the insane tuition hikes to stabilize, you have to get control of spending.

Anonymous said...

Did some recent posts get deleted? Or am I seeing things?

Future of Art Center said...

A couple posts related to the attack on Ophelia were in fact removed at the request of Ophelia and another poster. They felt that there was no point in getting too personal and we agreed.

We weren't defending or "losing sleep" over the architecture & planning office, just giving people an update. The reference to people advising Ellsworth was more a cautionary statement as he makes changes, for example the letting go of the CTO, which seemed hasty, especially in the resulting organization (or frankly, disorganization).

Overall, we support the slimming down of administration as a long needed move.

Anonymous said...

Who is in charge of deleting posts? Is this a democracy or what?

Ophelia Chong said...

Yes it is a democracy. However I felt that posting the letter with the IP was enough on my blog.

This is an open forum and they posted the letter on an open forum, the writer can defend their words or not; however I do not want to point a finger nor am I going to assume who wrote it. This blog is not a kangaroo court.

If you take issue with this, you can email me. And I will discuss it with you.


Anonymous said...

No, the post you deleted had nothing to do with any attacks on you.

Anonymous said...

Anyway, no worries. I wish the best for the future of Art Center, but no further interest in this blog.

If this blog is all about offending certain individuals and not about freedom of speech than so be it. Beware of the dangers of censorship, however.

Ophelia Chong said...

11/15/08 2:12 PM

Okay. Which comments are you talking about then?

Future of Art Center said...

Let's get a few things clear here. As the operators of this blog (and by the way, Ophelia is not the only member of FOAC), we have every right to delete comments we think are problematic. We've tried to steer this discussion in a generally constructive direction, and especially when posts get too personal, we evaluate them for their contribution to the discussion vs. their destructiveness. If we think it goes over the line (or is simply way off-topic, rude, or otherwise inappropriate), we'll remove it.

In general, we try to err on the side of open discussion. But we feel certain responsibilities to the overall community. We try to be fair, and as in this case, have deleted comments that might be perceived as pro-change which is generally our position.

Regarding specific recent deletions, we removed two posts that specifically accused someone by name of writing the post attacking Ophelia on her blog. Since the attack was against Ophelia, it certainly seems like she should be able to back off from having mud thrown back the other way. Not only did Ophelia request the deletion, but someone who posted the name also requested that it be deleted. So rather than continue the venom in that post against Ophelia, we thought, let's move on.

There haven't been any other deletions for quite some time. Keep in mind that if someone posts by name rather than anonymously, they can delete their own posts, so perhaps something else was deleted by the author.

Ophelia Chong said...

A parallel universe at MOCA. Today from the LAT

An Open Letter to MOCA's Board of Trustees

From the article:
"To: MOCA trustees

Re: Rescue plans for MOCA's fiscal crisis

I read with interest in Wednesday's paper about the fiscal calamity plaguing the Museum of Contemporary Art, which seems to suggest that the nation's premier institution for art of the past 50 years is just about broke. I also read about the possible rescue plans you are prepared to pursue, in a desperate scramble to save your sinking ship. I've been hearing about others."

Anonymous said...

Let them eat cake!