President, Rhode Island School of Design
John Maeda is a world-renowned artist, graphic designer, computer scientist and educator whose career reflects his philosophy of humanizing technology. For more than a decade, he has worked to integrate technology, education and the arts into a 21st-century synthesis of creativity and innovation. Maeda became president of the Rhode Island School of Design (RISD) in June, 2008.
At RISD, Maeda seeks to champion the necessary role that artists and designers play in the 21st century creative economy. He sees the traditional, hand-crafted techniques that are fundamental to a RISD education as increasingly relevant in a overly-digital world, as people seek to reconnect with what is real and authentic. As President, he seeks to connect RISD to the political, economic, social, and business spheres where artists and designers will make a difference, and has prioritized fundraising for scholarships to ensure the broadest possible access to a RISD education.
Maeda's early work redefined the use of electronic media as a tool for expression by combining skilled computer programming with sensitivity to traditional artistic concerns. This work helped to develop the interactive motion graphics that are prevalent on the web today. As a digital artist, Maeda has exhibited in well-received one-man shows in London, New York and Paris. His work is in the permanent collections of the Museum of Modern Art, the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art and the Cartier Foundation in Paris. He is a trustee of the Smithsonian's Cooper-Hewitt National Design Museum and has designed advanced projects for major corporations such as Cartier, Google, Philips, Reebok and Samsung, among others.
In 2008 Maeda was named one of the 75 most influential people of the 21st century by Esquire magazine. In 2001 he earned the National Design Award in the US; in 2002, the Mainichi Design Prize in Japan; and in 2005, the Raymond Loewy Foundation Prize in Germany.
A former professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Maeda taught media arts and sciences there for 12 years and served as associate director of research at the MIT Media Lab. He has published four books, his most recent, The Laws of Simplicity, has been translated into 14 languages. Maeda has lectured widely, including at Carnegie Mellon, Columbia, Harvard, Princeton, the Royal College of Art, Stanford and UCLA; at the Centre Pompidou, TED conferences and Walker Art Center; and for corporations such as Herman Miller, Sony, Steelcase, Toshiba and Yahoo!.
A native of Seattle, Maeda earned bachelor's and master's degrees in Computer Science and Electrical Engineering from MIT, followed by a PhD in Design Science from the University of Tsukuba Institute of Art and Design in Japan and an MBA from Arizona State University.