Rhode Island School of Design President John Maeda announced Wednesday that he will leave the Providence-based art and design school at the end of the year to take a job with a venture capital Firm in California.
Maeda will join the firm Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers as a design partner. He also plans to lead the Design Advisory Board at eBay.
Maeda, a designer and former Massachusetts Institute of Technology professor, became RISD president in 2008. He told The Associated Press on Wednesday that he feels privileged to have led the school but that he couldn't pass up the new opportunities, even if it meant departing the school in the middle of the academic year.
"This is the opportunity of a lifetime, it's one of those things that only comes along once in a while," he said.
Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers is a Silicon Valley-based firm that focuses on technology ventures.
RISD Board of Trustees Chairman Michael Spalter says the board will now begin the process of finding Maeda's successor.
Maeda was known for focusing on the role art and design plays in engineering, technology and manufacturing. Under his watch RISD boosted its ties to international institutions and donors, and more than doubled the amount of money it raised for scholarships.
Gov. Lincoln Chafee, U.S. Rep. David Cicilline and other state leaders issued statements praising Meada. Chafee noted that during Maeda's tenure, applications to RISD increased, as did financial aid to students.
"John Maeda leaves the school in good standing and a better place," Chafee said. "Through his hard work, he has made RISD a more innovative and creative college."
Maeda didn't always get along with RISD faculty, who took a no-confidence vote against him in 2011 over his academic reorganization plan.
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