Rosanne Somerson

The Rhode Island School of Design celebrates commencement on Saturday at the convention center. At one point it appeared as though 666 students would receive degrees, but the count has gone up to 669.

Either way, the number seems fitting for cult film director John Waters, who is scheduled to address the graduates. Waters is known for movies that push the boundaries of good taste.

RISD President Rosanne Somerson says RISD is known for quirky moments at commencement. Part of the university's tradition involves a unique take on the traditional black robe.

John Bender / RIPR

Picket lines will be visible outside the Rhode Island School of Design Thursday because of a labor dispute with some workers. The Technicians Union represents 44 employees, responsible for many of RISD’s famous studios. 

From glass to ceramics and metalworking, Union President Tucker Houlihan said they’re crucial to a RISD education.

Courtesy RISD

After an international search, the Rhode Island School of Design has settled on one of its own to take over as president. RISD has tapped Rosanne Somerson, a RISD graduate who’s been serving as interim president since December 2013.

Former president John Maeda stepped down suddenly, after a rocky relationship with RISD faculty. Maeda surprised many at RISD when he announced he had taken a job at Silicon Valley venture capital firm Kleiner Perkins Caufield Byers.

The Rhode Island School of Design has selected Interim President Rosanne Somerson to takeover the position permanently. The RISD Board announced the decision to faculty and students on Wednesday morning.

“President Somerson is a gifted, inspiring leader with great integrity, humility and vision, and is the perfect fit for RISD,” said Board of Trustees Chair Michael Spalter in the official announcement.

The Rhode Island School of Design has announced that Provost Rosanne Somerson will take over the duties of president while the board seeks a replacement for John Maeda.

Last Wednesday, Maeda announced that he will step down at the end of the semester to take a job at the venture capital firm Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers.

RISD Board Chair Michael Spalter says he is confident that Somerson is the right person to lead RISD through the transition.