At today's annual fall convocation, Mary Colleen Heil, President of Pennsylvania College of Art & Design, announced that after a quarter century, she will retire in June 2018.
“I love my work with the PCA&D community. Not many people have had the chance to build an agile, relevant art college from the ground up. I’ve watched a generation of artists and designers launch careers here. A change in leadership will be exciting for the College.”
PCA&D Board President, Robert Brandt, Jr., Chairman, Benchmark Construction Company, also spoke to the faculty and staff at the convocation, thanking Heil for her 25 years of leadership and service to the College. Brandt said, “President Heil has given PCA&D the very best of her long and distinguished career. Her tireless efforts have led to a college of distinction where our students develop in an environment of student-centered teaching. She will long be remembered as a major part of the strong foundation this institution enjoys."
Heil joined PCA&D as President in 1993 and has led the College through its development to an accredited College offering BFA degrees, and has overseen the College’s growth and increased presence in the region. Through her leadership, the College grew from a little-known ten-year old diploma-granting art school to a nationally known 4-year professional art college.
In recent years, the College has launched new branding, a new digital media degree, and dedicated student housing. This work, along with PCA&D’s investments in technology, facilities and its educational philosophy, Communication as Currency, has boosted its enrollment 22% over the last three years. Student placement in work and graduate school averages 95%.
Heil has put into place a rigorous system of strategic planning and fiscal discipline with excellent ratios and a low tuition discounting rate. She has expanded PCA&D’s presence in Lancaster, as well, including the acquisition of the Art Garden at Prince and Chestnut Streets. She also developed the College’s identity, hosting important exhibitions and lectures by major artists and designers, including Jerry Pinkney, Gail Anderson, Seymour Chwast, Toyin Odutola, Amy Sherald, and Laylah Ali. Many of these artists were part of The Mosaic Project, a multicultural exhibition and education program for students and families in Lancaster County. PCA&D’s Senior Show & Celebration is the largest visual arts event in the City. The College’s Continuing Education program has also grown during Heil’s tenure and provides a solid professional development platform for Lancaster’s creative workforce.
Heil is a member of the Board of Directors of National Association of Schools of Art & Design (NASAD), the national organization dedicated to improve educational practices and maintain high professional standards in art and design education. She previously served at her alma mater, Moore College of Art & Design, Philadelphia, and at Corcoran School of Art, Washington, D.C., and the Pratt Institute, Brooklyn, New York.
Among various professional affiliations, she has served as Visiting Evaluator and Team Chair for NASAD and locally has served on boards for the initial Lancaster City Public Arts Advisory Board (PAAB), Pennsylvania College of Health Sciences, LancasterArts, United Way of Lancaster County, and the James Street Investment District. She has served as a member of Lancaster General Health’s Audit and Compliance Committee, as a judge for numerous art exhibitions and competitions, and as a Fancy Brigade costume judge for the Philadelphia Mummers Parade.
PCA&D past Board Chair David Buckman, EVP and General Counsel at Allied Universal, will be leading the search committee, which will be comprised of members of the Board and selected individuals from within the College community. Details about the search for the new president will be available after the search committee is in place. The new president is expected to be at the helm prior to the start of the 2018-19 academic year.