CCAD Board confirms Art & Design College veteran as new College President

Dec 2, 2015

CCAD names Dr. Melanie Corn

Columbus College of Art & Design’s board of trustees has named Melanie Corn, EdD, an accomplished chief academic officer, as CCAD’s new president. Dr. Corn will assume her position as CCAD’s fifth president on March 21, 2016.

Dr. Corn, age 40, is the first woman president in CCAD’s 136-year history, and is now one of only six women serving as presidents of member institutions of the Association of Independent Colleges of Art and Design (AICAD). Dr. Corn’s academic and pedagogic work combines interests in contemporary visual culture and theories of gender and sexuality, and her graduate art history work focused on the visual crisis of the AIDS epidemic. She received her BA in Art History from Stanford University, her MA in Art History from University of California Santa Barbara where she also completed doctoral coursework and exams, and her EdD in Higher Education Management from University of Pennsylvania.

Currently, Dr. Corn serves as the provost (senior vice president of Academic Affairs) for California College of the Arts (CCA) in San Francisco. As chief academic officer at CCA, Dr. Corn has been responsible for the faculty, curriculum, and the strategic academic vision for the college. In recent years, she has worked to strengthen faculty development and governance, champion diversity efforts at the college, improve academic assessment efforts, and lead the implementation of new degree programs that take advantage of CCA’s home in a major center of cultural and social innovation.

“Dr. Corn has the vision and leadership skills necessary to challenge conventions, build confidence and inspire innovation at CCAD while at the same time be a true advocate for our students,” said James Kunk, chairperson of the board. “We are eager to have her on board to work collaboratively with the wonderfully engaged and creative Columbus community.”

A strong believer in the power of art and design to impact the world, Dr. Corn has been actively engaged throughout her career in leading change, solving complex problems and creating solutions in the art and design school environment.

“This is a moment of great potential for art and design education,” Corn said. “Columbus College of Art & Design is well-poised to play an increasingly important role in this landscape. I am a true believer in the power of a studio-based educational model and I look forward to helping expand the college’s national profile and build on the efforts to prepare students for the creative economy.”

Corn, who grew up in Chicago, is eager to relocate to the Midwest with her family. In the interview process, she praised the growing creative economy in Columbus, calling the city progressive, affordable and “a parents’ dream."

Dr. Corn’s appointment follows an extensive national search by a diverse committee comprised of CCAD board members, faculty and staff supported by industry-leading recruiting firm Korn Ferry. Finalists met with additional CCAD faculty, staff and students for further input and feedback.

Reporting directly to the Board of Trustees, Dr. Corn is charged with setting the vision and tone for the college, ensuring that the education programs are strategic and relevant, that long-term institutional viability and sustainability are safeguarded and that the dynamic connectivity between the college and its constituencies—alumni, business, civic and community—continues to grow.

“The board is most grateful for the strong leadership provided over the past nine months by Interim President and Provost Kevin Conlon and we thank our CCAD family for continuing to provide our students with a rich and meaningful learning environment that fuels their full creative potential,” said Kunk.

CCAD Provost Kevin Conlon continues to serve as CCAD’s Interim President until Dr. Corn’s appointment is effective.

Dr. Corn succeeds Thomas White, an industrial designer and branding expert, who served as CCAD’s president from June 24, 2014 through March 3, 2015. Mr. White succeeded Dennison Griffith, an innovative and beloved leader of CCAD for 16 years until his retirement June 30, 2014. During Griffith’s tenure, he significantly expanded CCAD’s facilities, led a robust growth in fundraising, and oversaw the opening of the CCAD MindMarket and a complete restructuring of the college’s curriculum.

About Columbus College of Art & Design

Columbus College of Art & Design teaches undergraduate and graduate students in the midst of a thriving creative community in Columbus, Ohio. Founded in 1879, CCAD is one of the oldest private, nonprofit art and design colleges in the United States, offering 12 four-year undergraduate programs and two graduate programs in art and design that produce graduates equipped to shape culture and business at the highest level. For more information, visit

Media contact

Jeannie Nuss
Senior Media Relations Specialist
Columbus College of Art & Design
[email protected]