Roger Mandle is an art historian, curator and academic administrator. He is best known as the former president of the Rhode Island School of Design, one of the country's most selective art colleges.
Early life and education
Mandle received a BA degree in 1963 from Williams College and MA degree and certificate in Museum Training in 1967 from New York University. A specialist in aesthetics and Dutch art, he also holds a PhD in 2002 from Case Western Reserve University.
Mandle began his career as an associate director of the Minneapolis Institute of Art before moving on to direct the Toledo Museum of Art from 1977 to 1988. As deputy director and chief curator of the National Gallery of Art in Washington, DC, from 1988–93, he was an outspoken arts activist and oversaw all aspects of managing the respected museum. While in the capital, Mandle served as a member of the National Committee for Education Standards in the Arts and helped write the position paper Education Goals 2000: Standards in the Arts. Both President Ronald Reagan and President George H.W. Bush appointed him to the National Council on the Arts, one of scores of policymaking and advisory groups he has served on and led over the years.
In 1993, Mandle accepted the presidential position at the Rhode Island School of Design (RISD) in Providence. During his tenure at RISD, Mandle oversaw the development of several ambitious projects and is often credited for driving down acceptance rates and transforming RISD into an elite institution. He is also credited for initiating several programs with nearby Brown University, including a dual-degree program which allows students to earn a B.A and a B.F.A from both institutions. In 2008, after 15 years at RISD, Mandle stepped down from his post, leaving the position to John Maeda.
After leaving his post at RISD in July 2008, Mandle assumed the directorial position at the Qatar Museums Authority.
In May 2009, Mandle received an honorary doctorate from the Rhode Island School of Design.
Mandle is currently a member of the Council of Presidents for the University of the People. His work has helped develop the world's first non-profit, tuition-free, online academic institution that seeks to revolutionize higher education by making college-level studies accessible to students worldwide.