Effective July 1, 2019, Donald L. Tuski, Ph.D., will begin his tenure as CCS’s new president. A three-time college president and Michigan native, Tuski has led Pacific Northwest College of Art (PNCA) in Portland, Oregon, since 2016 and previously was president of Maine College of Art and Olivet College in Michigan. He succeeds Richard L. Rogers, who is retiring from CCS after 25 years.
President and professor of anthropology at PNCA since 2016, Tuski has led substantial growth at the private institution, which offers 11 undergraduate degrees in art and design and eight graduate programs. In fall 2018, PNCA welcomed the largest first-year class in its 110-year history — a nearly 18 percent increase over two years — and the incoming MA/MFA class and enrollment also achieved all-time highs.
This spirit of inquiry across disciplines and creative collaboration accompany Tuski, who welcomes the opportunity to build on CCS’s solid foundation and to continue advocating for the value of an art and design education.
“It’s very forward thinking to have ‘creative studies’ in your name and to have such a range of art and design offerings. So there’s not only Transportation Design, for example, but also Crafts and Fine Arts,” said Tuski, explaining why he was inspired to join CCS. “It really is one of the few art and design colleges to embrace such a range. It’s not easily done, and CCS does it in a very robust way. That’s powerful in a city that, historically, is all about art, design and crafts.
“Creativity is an important part of the future of higher education, as well as society,” he continued. “The world needs more artists and designers, because they often are the first people to point out problems and contradictions. They come up with something new, authentic or original. There’s a power to creativity historically — it’s not just ‘art for art’s sake,’ which is still important, but ‘art for society’s sake.’”
The search for president was conducted by Paul H.L. Chou, co-managing director, Global Education Practice, at Korn Ferry International, the world’s largest executive search firm. Chaired by Trustee William U. Parfet, the CCS Search Committee included trustees, faculty, staff, students and alumni.
“I was honored to serve as chair of the presidential search. We made a unanimous recommendation to the Board of Trustees that Don Tuski be the College’s next president,” said Parfet. “He has all the qualifications we were looking for. He’s the right person to lead the next phase of CCS’s development as a world-class college of art and design.”
Added incoming Board of Trustees Chair James M. Nicholson, “Don’s demonstrated experience, enthusiasm and ingenuity came shining through the search process. I'm confident he will lead us to success in this rapidly evolving world. Our shared goal is to grow the College for Creative Studies’ reputation and role as developer of the best global practitioners of art and design.”
At Maine College of Art (MECA) in Portland, Maine, Tuski led a sustained period of development as president from 2010 to 2016, increasing enrollment by 22 percent and growing revenue by 39 percent. During his tenure, philanthropic gifts more than doubled, and Tuski secured the college’s largest individual gift at the time: $3,000,000 from the Crewe Foundation to launch what is now the Bob Crewe Program in Art and Music.
Prior to joining MECA, Tuski spent 25 years in various roles at Olivet College, a private liberal arts college in Olivet, Michigan (and Tuski’s alma mater), where he served for nine years as president (2001–2010). Enrollment increased by more than 50 percent, fundraising totaled $22,000,000 and, from 2006–2009, the college raised a record-breaking $16,000,000 for its capital campaign, Embracing Opportunity and Responsibility since 1844: The Campaign for Olivet College. He also secured $3,500,000 for the completion of a new LEED-certified art building and led numerous upgrades and enhancements to campus facilities, housing and classrooms.
Donald L. Tuski holds a BA in biology from Olivet College and MA and doctoral degrees in anthropology from Michigan State University. At every institution he has served, he teaches at least one course a year, which not only keeps him connected to students but also gives him a ground-level view of faculty concerns. “I teach a class in anthropology at PNCA, and I’ve always taught one class a year — at Maine College of Art and Olivet College, too,” he added. “It really is fantastic. Artists and designers are tremendously curious and some of the most intellectually driven people I know.”