Columbia University New York, N.Y. 10027 Office of Public Information (212) 854-5573
George Rupp, President of Columbia University, today announced the appointment of Robert Fitzpatrick as Dean of the School of the Arts, effective July 1.
The appointment is central to a new initiative on the part of the University to expand its commitment to the arts on campus and in New York City, Dr. Rupp said. The initiative will include extensive renovations to Dodge Hall, the facilities that house the School of the Arts; upgrading of facilities for the School's film program; development of a new graphic laboratory; expanded and improved facilities for the visual arts; and the first steps toward the creation of an integrated library system for the arts. Renovations to Dodge Hall are scheduled to begin June 1, 1996.
An internationally admired leader in the arts, education, business and entertainment worlds, Robert Fitzpatrick was simultaneously a member of the Baltimore City Council and Dean of Students at Johns Hopkins University when he was named President of the California Institute of the Arts (Cal Arts) in 1975. During his 12-year tenure at Cal Arts, he also served as Director of the 1984 Olympic Arts Festival in Los Angeles and was Founder and Director of the critically acclaimed Los Angeles Festival, an outgrowth of the Olympic Games. In 1987, he was named president of EuroDisney, overseeing the creation and development of the EuroDisney Resort which opened in France in April 1992. In April 1993, one year after opening EuroDisney and welcoming 11 million guests, Mr. Fitzpatrick stepped down to create his own international consulting firm in Paris.
"Robert Fitzpatrick is exactly the leader we were looking for," Dr. Rupp stated in making the appointment. "He is a builder, and he is fearless in the face of creative challenges. This is a great opportunity for Columbia University to make the arts more central to the campus and more directly related to the community at large."
Provost Jonathan Cole said: "Columbia's unique location in the cultural center of the nation should enable us to have the preeminent school of the arts in America. I believe that the appointment of Bob Fitzpatrick signals that we are taking dead aim on that title. I fully expect that Bob can bring to Columbia the absolute distinction in the arts that we know we can achieve."
Dr. Rupp also noted that Mr. Fitzpatrick will assume his position at Columbia at the same time as David Cohen, the recently named Vice President for Arts and Sciences at Columbia University. Dr. Cohen, who was centrally involved in the discussions that led to Mr. Fitzpatrick's appointment, said: "I cannot imagine a better or more energetic partner to meet the needs of the University as it enters the new millennium."
Born in Toronto, Canada in 1940, Mr. Fitzpatrick, who has been recognized with numerous honors and trusteeships internationally, will be making his home in Manhattan for the first time. Commenting on his appointment to this post, he said: "There is probably no other opportunity
that would have induced me to leave Paris -- where culture is so central to the life of the city and the nation -- than to come to Columbia University and New York City. If there was ever a place where the arts can and should thrive, it is at a university as distinguished as Columbia and in a city like New York, which is the only place in the world where the culture of the past and the creation of the present coexist."