Adele Chatfield-Taylor Stepping Down From AAR Presidency at End of 2013

Adele Chatfield-Taylor Stepping Down From AAR Presidency at End of 2013
Adele Chatfield-Taylor after being named President of the American Academy in Rome in December 1988
Adele Chatfield-Taylor Stepping Down From AAR Presidency at End of 2013
c. 1923

Statement from William B. Hart, Chairman of the Board of Trustees of the American Academy in Rome

Adele Chatfield-Taylor announced today that she plans to step down from the American Academy in Rome at the end of 2013 when she will have completed twenty-five years as the Academy's president and CEO. The board of trustees has accepted this reluctantly, but with the greatest admiration and gratitude for her years of service. Under Adele's leadership the Academy has experienced what many consider a golden age in its more than century-long existence. Each of the eight buildings in Rome has been restored and renovated, starting with the signature McKim, Mead & White building, and the grounds are now among the most beautiful in the city. The Academy's endowment has been increased five-fold, and its program and operations have been funded without a deficit for many years thanks to Adele's steady and determined oversight.

Most important, the scholarly and artistic life of the Academy has flourished. A Rome Prize winner herself before she assumed the presidency, Adele has renewed and broadened, for hundreds of fellows and residents, the meaning of a year in Rome and the inspiration to be had from living and working together in a dynamic international community. She has developed affiliations with America's leading cultural and scholarly institutions and brought many of their most outstanding people to Rome and to the Academy community. 

Adele has brought a kind of magic to the Academy. She has known what to save, what to refurbish and what to add. She has a gift for attracting new friends from around the world-- great artists and exceptional scholars, remarkable emerging talents, generous donors, and even heads of state. All of them, whether at the Academy for an evening, a month or a year, have been touched by the beauty and purpose of this place. It has been a brilliant era.

The trustees have appointed a search committee and engaged the firm of Isaacson Miller to assist. The committee will begin in January a wide and comprehensive search for Adele's successor, and expects, before the year is out, to name a new president, so that new leadership may assure that the Academy's programs, its Rome Prize awards, and its vital life in Rome go forward without interruption.

Letter from Adele Chatfield-Taylor

Dear Fellows and Friends,

I write to inform you that I will step down from my position as president and CEO of the American Academy in Rome at the end of 2013, my twenty-fifth year of service to our beloved institution.

From the day I first walked through the gate as a Rome Prize Fellow in 1983, the Academy has dominated my life. While living under the roof that year, I discovered the greatest city on earth, a community of artists and scholars who transformed my horizons and became friends, and learned many things I hadn’t known about the world, myself, and my work.

As president, beginning in December of 1988, my principal goal was to see that the institution survived for coming generations, but also that it be made sustainable and inheritable. This has meant rebuilding the endowment, the Rome Prize, the physical plant, the library, the programs, the food, and the Academy’s relationship to the world.

We are proud of what has been accomplished in the past decades, and it is an immense relief to know that the Academy is now stronger – in terms of personnel, fellowships, programs, the historic preservation (and modernization) of the physical plant, and finances. Thanks to the unflagging support of trustees, directors, staff, fellows, alumni, friends, and donors, the Academy is not only stable but flourishing. We have successfully endowed most of our Fellowships and Residencies and expanded the reach of the Rome Prize Competition, ensuring that the community will be robust and diverse, restored the place of the arts by re-establishing the Arts Directorship, restored and renovated our buildings and gardens with $35 million raised and spent for the purpose, endowed the leadership and operation of the Ross Library, launched the Rome Sustainable Food Project, increased the endowment by a factor of five, balanced our program and operating budgets for nearly 20 years including through the financial crisis, and completed a $75 million campaign.

The leadership in Rome is stronger than ever. Our Directors, Heiskell Arts Directors, and Mellon Professors-in-Charge of the School of Classical Studies have ambitious agendas that will keep the Academy moving forward. Our partnership, involvement, and interaction with Rome is more meaningful than it has been in a long time. Our programs enhance not only our own artists and scholars, but also the intellectual community in the city of Rome. And while we will always have an American community at our core, we are on our way to becoming truly international as well, with Affiliated Fellows and Residents joining us from far and wide. If in the nineteenth century we were an outpost in a foreign land, today we are a crossroads in a global world. But we are first and foremost a private place that offers community members the uninterrupted time and space to work and live, and savor the resources of Rome.

With all this in mind, and as my own quarter-century anniversary approaches, I recognize that it is a natural moment for transition.  

To those who contribute to the Academy every single day, particularly the staff on both sides of the Atlantic who have been such a dear and faithful family to me all these years, to the Fellows and the rest of the community who give the Academy such power and meaning, and to the donors who make possible our very existence, I would like to express my deepest thanks. I have never worked so hard, been more challenged, received more support, or felt more fulfilled. When I took the job, my hope was to be able to repay the Academy for the liberating experience it gave me as a Rome Prize Fellow. When I step down 14 months from now, I fear I will not yet have met that goal, so I will have to keep trying by remaining involved and supportive of the Academy for the rest of my life.

The Academy has been an oasis and life-changing experience also for my husband, John Guare, and it has been indispensably helpful to me that he has been so happily incorporated into Academy life all these years. I thank the Academy for embracing him as well.

So this is the news, which will enable our search committee to begin to select a new president, as confident as I am that the best is yet to come for the Academy. In the meantime, there is much to be done in the months ahead, and I am determined, with your help, to make the most of that time and opportunity!

With gratitude and affection,

Adele Chatfield-Taylor, FAAR’84
President and CEO
American Academy in Rome

15 November 2012

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