October 29, 2016

David Yager inaugurated President

University of the Arts Philadelphia
Photo: CJ Harker.

In a unique and dynamic ceremony that featured dance, theater and musical performances, David Yager was officially installed as president of the University of the Arts on October 17. The inauguration was part of the university’s celebration of its 140th anniversary, which follows the theme “The Maker’s Moment.”

In his inaugural address, President Yager asked those in the audience to close their eyes and imagine a University of the Arts of the future, one that is the most provocative, imaginative, entrepreneurial, socially engaged, authentic and influential school of the arts in the country.

“Mark today in your calendar, as we celebrate 140 years and this inauguration. We are standing at the threshold of something new… the University of the Arts will be what it has always been—distinctive and bold—and it will be like something we have never seen before. Because that is our obligation—and our passion—as artists and makers.”

In addition, honorary doctor of fine arts degrees were awarded to Stan Lee, the Marvel Comics legend; Ron Yerxa, a film producer known for the Oscar-nominated Nebraska, as well as Little Miss Sunshine, Cold Mountain and Election; and Dr. Freeman Hrabowski III, prominent American educator and president of the University of Maryland, Baltimore County.

The ceremony also included greetings and congratulations by Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney, who declared the day “UArts Day” in the city of Philadelphia and praised the university for its long history as one of the region’s cultural and economic drivers. University of the Arts Board Chair Jeffrey Lutsky served as master of ceremonies for the event.

The ceremony featured performances by students from the University of the Arts’ School of Dance, its Ira Brind School of Theater Arts, and its School of Music’s award-winning “Z” Big Band. The procession and recession to and from the site of the ceremony was led by WhoaFat, a New Orleans-style jazz band comprised of UArts alumni and students.

To view the video of the ceremony on-demand, please visit

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