University of the Arts to Conduct National Search for New President

Sean Buffington to join New York-based foundation

November 10, 2014

University of the Arts Board Chair Jeffrey A. Lutsky announced today that Sean T. Buffington, who has served as president of the University of the Arts since 2007, will step down from that position effective Jan. 1, 2015. Lutsky said that the Board of Trustees has appointed UArts Provost Kirk E. Pillow as interim president, starting Jan. 1, while a national search is conducted. President Buffington will assist Dr. Pillow through Jan. 31 to ensure a smooth transition.

Buffington has been appointed vice president for planning and strategic initiatives by the Henry Luce Foundation in New York City. “The Luce Foundation offered me an unparalleled opportunity to support and affect higher education, American art and other fields I care about passionately on a national and global scale,” Buffington said.

“Sean has led the University of the Arts through important changes that position it as a leader in arts education nationally,” Lutsky said. “The trustees and the University community are grateful to him for his leadership and service and wish him well in his new role at the Luce Foundation.”

During Buffington’s tenure, the University introduced an interdisciplinary curriculum, creating an innovative new approach to the education of young artists and creative professionals. New programs were introduced, including Music Business, Entrepreneurship & Technology, Creative Writing and Film Design & Production. The University’s Corzo Center for the Creative Economy established itself as an indispensable resource for creative entrepreneurs seeking to establish businesses in the city. In addition, exciting new partnerships were launched with Peirce College, NextFab, the Curtis Institute and Drexel University’s Westphal College of Media Arts and Design.

“I’m proud of what the UArts community has accomplished over the past seven years,” Buffington said. “It has been a privilege to lead this institution, to work each day with such tremendously committed and talented artists and educators, and to do so in the heart of the city of Philadelphia, which boasts one of the country’s most vital arts scenes. I will miss the University and Philadelphia enormously,” he said.

Board Chair Lutsky, managing partner of law firm Stradley Ronon Stevens & Young, expressed confidence in the University’s leadership as the search for a new president is launched. “Provost Kirk Pillow is an experienced and capable leader. He worked closely with Sean and the leadership team to implement the University’s curricular transformation in recent years. I know he will continue to move the University forward, and on behalf of the board, I thank him for agreeing to step into this role during this time of transition.”

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