GRAND RAPIDS — Leslie Bellavance plans to return to teaching and step down this summer as president of Kendall College of Art and Design at Ferris State University.
The president of Kendall College since 2015, Bellavance leaves June 30, and also will step down as a vice president at Ferris State. She’ll become a member of the Kendall College faculty, as well return to her own art practice.
“It has been my privilege to serve higher educational institutions and national organizations in leadership capacities that have supported innovation in teaching and learning, equity, and the creative spirit of art and design,” she said in a statement. “I am most proud and honored to have served as KCAD’s leader and to advocate for its unique programs as well as its accomplished faculty, staff, students, and alumni. I am enthusiastic to return to teaching and my work as a multimedia artist. These pursuits have defined my professional and personal life.”
Bellavance’s 38-year career in higher education includes a stint as dean and director of graduate programs and a professor at the New York State College of Ceramics at Alfred University and 20 years as a faculty member at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee.
In Grand Rapids, she led the development of a strategic plan between Kendall College and the Urban Institute for Contemporary Arts following the merger of the two institutions. Bellavance also supported faculty contributions to Grand Rapids Public School’s Museum School, where she also serves on an advisory board.
“Ms. Bellavance is an accomplished leader who has been a catalyst for keeping KCAD at the forefront of innovative art and design education. Her significant contributions have positively impacted the college’s and UICA’s future direction,” Ferris State President David Eisler said.
Eisler plans to work with Bellavance between now and June 30 to seek input before naming an interim president and beginning a national search for a new president.
EDITOR’S NOTE: This story has been updated to clarify that Bellavance also is stepping down as a vice president at Ferris State.