Ruki Neuhold-Ravikumar, Acting Director of the Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum was named the 25th President of Kansas City Art Institute (KCAI) and will begin her term July 1, 2022.
A proven administrator, educator, and thought leader, Neuhold-Ravikumar was selected following a seven-month national search by the firm Isaacson Miller. KCAI’s presidential search committee was led by Trustees and Co-Chairs Herb Kohn and Laura Flanigan, who organized a diverse committee of 18 trustees, faculty, staff and alumni committed to finding the best leader for the college. She will succeed Nerman Family President Tony Jones, who will retire on June 30, 2022.
Neuhold-Ravikumar currently manages more than 100 full-time employees and a collection of 215,000 design objects spanning 31 centuries. She has previously served as the Director of Education for Cooper Hewitt, Associate Provost of Education and Access and the Acting Under Secretary for Education at the Smithsonian Institution. She led the Smithsonian’s response to the nation’s distance learning needs with a pan-institutional team. Prior to that, she worked extensively in higher education at the University of Central Oklahoma where she advanced from professor in graphic design to director of graduate programs and associate dean of the College of Arts & Design. Neuhold-Ravikumar is also an award-winning graphic designer.
“Ruki brings a tremendous amount of experience to the college,” said Sue Nerman, chair of the board of trustees. Her innovative approach to learning and teaching, strong leadership skills, and commitment to community partnerships is exactly what KCAI needs to lead us into the next chapter.”
Originally from Chennai, India, she received her MFA in graphic design from Iowa State University and BFA in the history of fine art and drawing and painting from the Stella Maris College in India. She also has an executive education certificate in business from Yale University and a certificate in Museum Studies from Northwestern University.
She served in multiple leadership roles at American Institute of Graphic Arts and was named an AIGA Fellow in 2015 by the Oklahoma Chapter. She has won numerous awards and recognitions including the prestigious 2021 Design Achievement Award from Iowa State College of Design. Neuhold-Ravikumar is married to Patti Neuhold-Ravikumar, president of the University of Central Oklahoma.
Kansas City Art Institute (KCAI) is a college of art and design awarding a bachelor of fine arts degree in 13 majors. Founded in 1885, it is Kansas City’s oldest arts institution. KCAI’s mission is to prepare gifted students to transform the world creatively through art and design.