September 1, 2016

Elissa Tenny appointed President

School of the Art Institute of Chicago

Courtesy of the School of the Art Institute of Chicago.

The School of the Art Institute of Chicago (SAIC) welcomed Elissa Tenny as the School’s new President beginning July 1, 2016. She is the 15th executive and first woman to take on this role at SAIC in its 150-year history. Tenny joined SAIC in 2010 as Provost and Senior Vice President of Academic Affairs and has already made a tremendous impact on the institution. Her signature initiatives include establishing the Earl and Brenda Shapiro Center for Research and Collaboration and implementing the School’s strategic plan, which identified priority areas of focus for enhancing academic programming, creating organizational efficiencies, and developing diversity initiatives. Additionally, Tenny was an integral part in SAIC’s 150th Anniversary celebrations throughout the last academic year.

“The School of the Art Institute of Chicago has been a leader in art and design education for more than 150 years, and I am humbled to have the opportunity to carry on the School’s legacy and help pave the way for the next generation of thinkers and makers,” said Tenny. “I have learned so much from our students, faculty, and staff over the last six years, and I am looking forward to leading the School as we head into our next 150 years.”

Before joining SAIC, Tenny was Provost and Dean at Bennington College in Vermont. Prior to Bennington, Tenny served in a variety of roles at The New School in New York City from 1977 to 2002, eventually holding the positions of Acting Dean and Vice Dean. Tenny holds a Doctor of Education from the University of Pennsylvania, a Master of Arts in Media Studies from The New School, and a Bachelor of Arts in Business Administration from Stockton University. A career-long proponent of art and design education and the liberal arts, Tenny is an advocate of interdisciplinary practice, diversity in higher learning, and the role higher education plays in society and the world at large.

About the School of the Art Institute of Chicago
For 150 years, the School of the Art Institute of Chicago (SAIC) has been a leader in educating the world’s most influential artists, designers, and scholars. Located in downtown Chicago with a fine arts graduate program consistently ranked as a top program in the nation by U.S. News and World Report, SAIC provides an interdisciplinary approach to art and design as well as world-class resources, including the Art Institute of Chicago museum, on-campus galleries, and state-of-the-art facilities. SAIC’s undergraduate, graduate, and post-baccalaureate students have the freedom to take risks and create the bold ideas that transform Chicago and the world—as seen through notable alumni and faculty such as Michelle Grabner, David Sedaris, Elizabeth Murray, Richard Hunt, Georgia O’Keeffe, Cynthia Rowley, Nick Cave, and LeRoy Neiman. For more information, please visit


Elissa Tenny appointed President of the School of the Art Institute of Chicago

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