MICA President Fred Lazarus has announced that he’ll be retiring next year after 35 years on the job. During that time, Lazarus has utterly transformed the school, upping its national stature and developing strong community ties at home. Under Lazarus, the school expanded significantly and turned the Station North area into a hub of artistic activity with great commercial potential.
In a memo to colleagues, Lazarus said that when he became president in 1978, he promised to stay for three to five years, a stint he exceeded by three decades. He also thanked the college for “taking a risk” on someone who wasn’t an artist and had no previous experience in higher education. “I am even color blind,” he noted.
Longtime MICA Trustee George Bunting, Jr. praised Lazarus’s visionary leadership. "My association with Fred goes back to 1978 when I chaired the search committee that selected him as MICA's president, and it was one of the best decisions in which I ever have participated," Bunting said in a press release. "Since then, Fred's vision, energy, and talents have transformed MICA into a national leader in arts education, a world-class institution, and one of Baltimore's true jewels. His leadership has inspired me, and countless others, to see MICA’s great potential, and to work closely with him in achieving it."
"Fred Lazarus has long been a tireless advocate to advance art and design education, revitalize our communities and raise awareness about the importance of culture in the lives of every Marylander," said Maryland Governor Martin O’Malley. "His leadership has not only helped empower countless cultural organizations, but also strengthened the state’s colleges, arts education in K–12 schools, and even the economy through the thousands of visitors who attend the annual Artscape festival. Because of Fred's legacy, I know that MICA will continue to attract the most creative students to Maryland to learn and eventually become key members of the innovative workforce that makes Maryland unique."
A MICA search committee comprised of faculty, students, and trustees will, over the next few months, recommend candidates to succeed Lazarus, who was also featured in Baltimore's 2011 "Power" issue.