Detroit’s College for Creative Studies has named Donald L. Tuski president, effective July 1. He succeeds Richard L. Rogers, who is retiring from CCS after 25 years.
“Don’s demonstrated experience, enthusiasm, and ingenuity came shining through the search process,” says James M. Nicholson, incoming chair of the board of trustees. “I’m confident he will lead us to success in this rapidly evolving world. Our shared goal is to grow the College for Creative Studies’ reputation and role as developer of the best global practitioners of art and design.”
Tuski was president of Pacific Northwest College of Art in Portland, Ore., since 2016 and also was an anthropology professor. As president, he led enrollment growth at the private institution, which offers 11 undergraduate degrees in art and design and eight graduate programs.
In the fall of 2018, the college welcomes its largest first-year class in its 110-year history, a nearly 18-percent increase over two years. The incoming master class and enrollment also achieved all-time highs.
He was also previously president of Maine College of Art and Olivet College in Olivet, Mich.
“It’s very forward-thinking to have ‘creative studies’ in your name and to have such a range of art and design offerings,” says Tuski. “So, there’s not only transportation design, for example, but also crafts and fine arts. It really is one of the few art and design colleges to embrace such a range. It’s not easily done, and CCS does it in a very robust way. That’s powerful in a city that, historically, is all about art, design, and crafts.
“Creativity is an important part of the future of higher education, as well as society. The world needs more artists and designers, because they often are the first people to point out problems and contradictions. They come up with something new, authentic, or original. There’s a power to creativity historically — it’s not just ‘art for art’s sake,’ which is still important, but ‘art for society’s sake.’”
The presidential search was led by Paul H.L. Chou, co-managing director of global education practice at Korn Ferry International, the world’s largest executive search firm. The CCS search committee included trustees, faculty, staff, students, and alumni and was chaired by William U. Parfet, trustee.
“I was honored to serve as chair of the presidential search,” says Parfet. “We made a unanimous recommendation to the board of trustees that Don Tuski be the college’s next president. He has all the qualifications we were looking for. He’s the right person to lead the next phase of CCS’s development as a world-class college of art and design.”
At Maine College of Art in Portland, Maine, Tuski increased enrollment by 22 percent and revenue by 39 percent as president from 2010-2016. Philanthropic gifts more than doubled, and Tuski secured the college’s largest individual gift at the time: $3 million.
Prior to joining Maine College of Art, Tuski spent 25 years in various roles at Olivet College, including president from 2001-2010. During his tenure, enrollment increased by more than 50 percent, fundraising totaled $22 million and, from 2006-2009, the college raised a record-breaking $16 million for its capital campaign. Tuski also secured $3.5 million for the completion of a new LEED-certified art building and led upgrades and enhancements to campus facilities, housing, and classrooms.
Tuski completed a bachelor’s degree in biology at Olivet and master’s and doctoral degrees in anthropology from Michigan State University. At each institution he has served, he has taught at least one course each year to stay connected with students and faculty.