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Entertainment & Arts

Otis College of Art and Design picks entertainment executive as its new president

Charles Hirschhorn, Otis College of Art and Design president
Otis College of Art and Design’s new president, Charles Hirschhorn.
(James Ross Mankoff / Otis College of Art and Design)

Otis College of Art and Design has announced a new president: Charles Hirschhorn, president of AEG Television.

Hirschhorn has been a trustee of the Berklee College of Music in Boston for 15 years. He serves on the advisory board of USC’s Lloyd Greif Center for Entrepreneurial Studies and on the advisory committee for Harvard University’s Office of the Arts.

Hirschhorn’s appointment comes after Otis celebrated its centennial during the 2018-19 academic year. The college also completed a $50-million expansion in 2016 that included its first residence hall and an academic building for the fashion design department.

Hirschhorn said in an interview that his immediate goal is to bring “stability and leadership” to the institution after Bruce W. Ferguson stepped down as president nearly a year ago and died of cancer in September. Former provost Randall Lavender has been serving as interim president.

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Long term, Hirschhorn said, he hopes to draw on his media background to optimize opportunities for Otis.

“My professional background is as a media executive and producer, and the producer’s role is always to find people who have creative stories to tell and ideas to express and find them the opportunities and resources and connections to express those things,” he said. “And that’s sort of how I look at Otis. It’s filled with amazingly talented students and faculty. I just hope to help them produce those stories and bring attention to [the school].”

Hirschhorn founded the video game TV network G4 Television. He served as vice president of development for Fox Broadcasting, VP of production at Disney’s Hollywood Pictures and president of Disney Television and Disney Television Animation, among other posts.

Mei-Lee Ney, chairwoman of the Otis board of trustees, said in the announcement that Hirschhorn’s experience in entertainment, the arts and digital media “align perfectly with the needs of Otis and its students.”

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“Rarely has there been so much promise and potential for our entire college,” she said. “It’s with immense support and enthusiasm that we look forward to working with Charles to advance Otis into an even greater institution that empowers its students to shape the world.”

Hirschhorn takes his post on June 1.


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