Office of the President

David Yager began his tenure as president of the 140-year-old University of the Arts in Philadelphia on January 15, 2016. He joined UArts from the University of California, Santa Cruz (UC Santa Cruz), where he most recently served as dean of the Arts Division, distinguished professor of art, and an affiliated faculty member of the Digital Arts and New Media program.

An accomplished visual artist, Yager also has an extensive background as an academic, a researcher utilizing design to improve the health care space, an entrepreneur and a business executive.

Yager joined UC Santa Cruz as dean of the Arts Division in 2009. During his tenure, he created multiple graduate programs, including two doctoral programs and two master’s programs, as well as a number of new majors including an undergraduate major in gaming and playable media.

Before joining UC Santa Cruz, Yager spent 23 years at University of Maryland, Baltimore County (UMBC) where he was a distinguished professor and Wilson Elkins Professor of Visual Art, founder and director of the Imaging Research Center (IRC), founder and director of the Center for Art, Design and Visual Culture (CADVC), and founder and director of the Innovation and Design Lab (IDL). Yager brought the IDL concept with him to California where he founded UC Santa Cruz’s Innovation and Design Lab (IDL). Under his direction, the goal of IDL is to create new knowledge in the health and wellness industries through a holistic approach to innovation and design research that generates products, tools, services and solutions to improve health outcomes. The lab’s primary research focus is based at the Children’s Center and the Department of Pediatrics at the Johns Hopkins Medical Institutions, where Yager holds a faculty position in pediatrics.

In 1999, during his tenure at UMBC, Yager became vice president of research and later president of a division of a publicly traded technology company. His clients included GlaxoSmithKline, John Deere, Daimler Chrysler, Toyota, Cisco, Pharmacia and other Fortune 100 companies. Previously, Yager served as chair of the department of Art and Art History at the University of South Florida and director of its nationally acclaimed Graphicstudio, which collaborated with artists such as Robert Rauschenberg, Jim Dine, Robert Mapplethorpe and Vito Acconci, to name a few.

Yager’s art training began with painting, printmaking, photography, film and video. A noted photographer and designer, his work has been exhibited nationally and internationally. His work ultimately transitioned to digital and imaging technologies, visualization, animation and simulation – the precursors to his current work in digital imaging and health care design that responds to current culture and cultural trends. Yager earned a Bachelor of Arts from the University of Connecticut, a Master of Fine Arts from Florida State University and an honorary doctorate in design from De Montfort University in Leicester, England.