The IYRS School of Technology & Trades (IYRS), a leading institution of experiential education for global makers, today announced that it has selected Jay Coogan to become its third president, effective October 1, 2018.

A widely respected leader in the art and design field nationally and internationally, Coogan is currently the President of Minneapolis College of Art and Design (MCAD) and previously served as Provost at Rhode Island School of Design (RISD).

“The IYRS Board is delighted that a leader of Jay Coogan’s caliber is returning to Rhode Island to lead our school. We believe his skills and experiences will enable IYRS to further our strategic vision of being a unique learning center that equips students with the technical knowledge and innovative skills that meet the needs of industry,” said IYRS Chairman Joe Dockery.

In nine years at MCAD, Mr. Coogan raised the school’s national profile and developed innovative new academic programs, including Product Design and Entrepreneurial Studies majors and four new minors. He successfully led MCAD’s first capital campaign that raised $23 million for programs, scholarships, and facilities. He also drove MCAD’s student-oriented strategies that consistently increased student scholarships over his tenure.

Prior to joining MCAD in 2009, Mr. Coogan served successively as a faculty member, dean, and ultimately provost at RISD. While at RISD, he led the development of the Brown/RISD dual degree program, established the digital media graduate program, and oversaw five academic divisions. As part of spearheading the acquisition of two buildings in downtown Providence, he raised funds in support of RISD’s Center for Design & Business.

Mr. Coogan assumes leadership at IYRS from Terry Nathan, who is retiring after a 15-year term that expanded the school’s curriculum from wooden boatbuilding and restoration to include marine systems, composites technology, and digital modeling and fabrication.

Last year, IYRS inaugurated the new 20,000 sq. ft. Brooks Building on its expanded Thames Street campus that includes the restored Aquidneck Mill and Restoration Hall.

In accepting the appointment Coogan stated, “I’m so pleased to become President of IYRS and be able to apply my over 30 years of experience leading art and design schools. IYRS is at the vanguard of a new approach to higher education and experiential learning. It is destined to become a world-renowned craftsmanship school. I’m thrilled to be leading this effort at an exciting time in the maker’s movement.”

A Massachusetts native, Coogan has a broad academic and artistic experience as a maker. He holds a Bachelor of Arts in Visual Arts from Brown University and a Masters of Fine Arts in Sculpture from Hunter College. His art has been shown in numerous galleries and museums across the country. He has public commissions in the cities of Boston, Cambridge, Green Bay and Providence. As a faculty member at RISD, his teaching experience included classes in welding, casting, woodworking, and public art.

Mr. Coogan is the chairman of the board of the 42-member Association of Independent Colleges of Art and Design. He has also served on the boards of Forecast Public Art, the College Art Association, the National Council of Art Administrators, and the Museum of Art at RISD.

In his previous tenure in Rhode Island, he was on the boards of the Rhode Island Salvation Army, Slater Center for Design and Manufacturing, and the Edgewood Sailing School located on Narragansett Bay. He also was a founder of Pixilerations, a digital media arts showcase collaboratively developed with RISD, Brown, MIT and FirstWorks.


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