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Mark Robbins, FAAR’97, Named New President of the American Academy in Rome

October 30, 2013
Mark Robbins

“On behalf of the Board of Trustees and the Presidential Search Committee I am enormously pleased to announce the selection of Mark Robbins, FAAR’97, as the President and CEO-elect of the American Academy in Rome,” said Mary Margaret Jones, FAAR’97, Chairman of the Academy, in a statement released today.

When Mark Robbins was the Marion O. and Maximilian E. Hoffman Foundation Rome Prize Fellow in Design at the American Academy in Rome in 1997, he began to come into his own as an artist and a “voice”. Never easy to pigeon-hole, which is why the Academy was a perfect oasis for him, he used his time in Rome reflecting on an already substantial career as an academic and designer, and testing his appetites for art, architecture, photography, writing, travel, and conversation—emerging at the end of the experience as a more crystallized version of the hybrid he had always been, and convinced that he was where he belonged: in unchartered territory.

When he returned to the States, he continued to do his own work in the studio he set up in 1986, but began to be a go-to interpreter of what was going on in design, the visual arts, and cities all over the United States. He had a taste of this as the first Curator of Architecture from 1993-99, at the Wexner Center for the Arts in Columbus, Ohio, and he was then recruited to be Director of the Design Arts program at the National Endowment for the Arts, where he served from 1999-2002, overseeing grants, initiating New Public Works Design Competitions and design publication series, carrying on the Mayor’s Institute for City Design, as well as collaborative design institutes with HUD, EPA, and GSA. Next steps were the Deanship at the School of Architecture and University Senior Advisor for Architecture and Urban Initiatives at Syracuse University (2004-12), and Executive Director at the International Center of Photography, starting in 2012.

Now he will be coming back to the Academy. “Mark brings his record as an exceptional leader, administrator, educator, architect and artist to a position that must represent all that is the Academy and its legacy as the highest possible representation of excellence in scholarship and the arts,” Ms. Jones continued. “He will succeed Adele Chatfield-Taylor early in 2014, as she steps down after 25 remarkably transformative years of service. We believe Mark will be the perfect person to lead us into the next era for the Academy, one that strengthens its international and national reach and maintains the dynamic community that has had such an impact on notable artists and scholars throughout the institution's illustrious history.”

“We are very proud of Mark’s outstanding and dedicated service to the many entities he has led, and we are delighted that he is returning to the Academy, where as a Fellow, he was memorable,” commented Adele Chatfield-Taylor, FAAR’84. “Mark is one of the most enterprising and original figures of his generation. He is fascinated by the work of both artists and scholars, especially in the fields of our fellowships, and he will bring a fresh take to many sectors of our life. I look forward to working closely with him during the transition, and know he will take our beloved institution to a whole new level of excellence.”

In Mark's words: “The Academy is an international site of scholarship and creativity. I am honored to lead the institution within an increasingly global, technological arena, building on the robust foundation secured through Adele’s inspired work. Rome seems endless in depth, offering vastly different fields of interpretation. The Academy must continue to attract the strongest, most diverse candidates across disciplines whose work makes the lessons of Rome a vibrant part of modern intellectual and creative life.”

Click here to read the press release.