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Furniture designer Rosanne Somerson is RISD’s 17th president

Rosanne Somerson.Fuller Craft Museum

The Rhode Island School of Design has chosen its 17th president. Rosanne Somerson takes the title effective immediately, the Board of Trustees announced this week. Somerson, a RISD grad and furniture designer, has been serving as the school’s interim president since January 2014. The board says it chose to keep Somerson in the job after a nine-month international search. “President Somerson has proven to be a thoughtful, energetic, inquisitive, and insightful leader,” the board’s vice chairwoman, Lisa Pevaroff-Cohn, said in the Providence school’s announcement of the news. “Her long and diverse experience at RISD enables her to weigh decisions from multiple vantage points, including as an internationally acclaimed designer and artist.” Somerson helped create the college’s Furniture Design Department in 1995. She was also provost from 2012 to 2014.