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PNCA Welcomes Board of Governors Chair Aric Wood and Member Norman J. Smith

Release date: 09/29/14

September 29, 2014

Lisa Radon, Communications Specialist 971-255-5528

Becca Biggs, Director of Communications 971-255-5511

PNCA Welcomes Board of Governors Chair Aric Wood and Member Norman J. Smith

Portland, OR, September 29, 2014 — Pacific Northwest College of Art is pleased to announce its new Board of Governors Chair Aric Wood, CEO of XPLANE. The Board also welcomes a new governor, Norman J. Smith, former President of the Ford Family Foundation. Wood brings years of experience in guiding global companies through transformative change. Smith provides a highly informed perspective on investing in Oregon and its cultural flagships, both through the Ford Family Foundation and as member of the Oregon House of Representatives.

The changes on the board come during PNCA’s renovation of what will become its new home on the North Park Blocks. The College has met 90% of its goal of $15 million for the Creativity Works Here capital campaign in support of the campus expansion.

“Under the dynamic hand of outgoing chair Ann Edlen, PNCA made great strides toward our vision of a 21st century art school,” says PNCA President Tom Manley. “Ann rallied the board and the greater community behind the capital campaign as well as our mission of preparing students for a thriving life of creative practice. Now we are fortunate to welcome Aric Wood as chair. His experience and strategic leadership in business will be critical as we look to create a resilient educational model for the future of arts education.”

PNCA continues to expand its programs, with the introduction of a new MFA in Print Media in the Hallie Ford School of Graduate Studies and a BFA in Writing. Since the launch of its first graduate program, the MFA in Visual Studies in 2007, PNCA has added five additional graduate programs including the MFA in Collaborative Design, in which Aric Wood teaches, the MA in Critical Theory and Creative Research, the Low-Residency MFA in Visual Studies, the MFA in Print Media, and MFA in Applied Craft and Design with Oregon College of Art and Craft.

In February of 2015, PNCA will move into its new home, the Arlene and Harold Schnitzer Center for Art and Design, in the former federal building at 511 NW Broadway. The Center joins PNCA’s Museum of Contemporary Craft and ArtHouse student housing facility to launch the College’s North Park Blocks campus that is expected to spur investment in the surrounding neighborhood.

Aric Wood
Aric Wood is the CEO of XPLANE, a global change design consultancy, and is an active social investor and entrepreneur. Wood has led the firm’s business transformation practice, helping companies envision an improved future and define a strategy, roadmap, and campaign to execute breakthrough results, and is currently leading the firm’s social good practice. With deep operating experience in general management, innovation, and new product development, Wood has a keen interest in leveraging design thinking to identify opportunities and drive innovation. He has appeared in publications and broadcasts including CNN, Business Week, and Inc. Magazine.

Wood is the Advisory Board Chair for Connect to Learn, a past vice-chair for the nonprofit Business for Culture and the Arts, a director of internet company MusicXray, and is also an instructor in PNCA’s Collaborative Design program. Prior to XPLANE, Wood was COO of Dachis Group, worked as a management consultant with Bain & Co., and served in various management positions with Intuit and He earned a BA from The Johns Hopkins University and an MBA from Harvard University.

Norman J. Smith
Norm Smith was named president and the first employee of the Ford Family Foundation in 1997, following his work as vice president in the Law and Government Affairs Division of AT&T. His career included 13 years with AT&T in Portland, Denver and San Francisco; 11 years of law practice in Portland and Washington, D.C.; and three terms as a member of the Oregon House of Representatives.

When Smith began his career with the Foundation, it had an endowment of $256 million. As he retired in 2013, it stood at more than $700 million. As CEO, he was responsible to the board for execution of policies; general operations; program development; staffing; and external relations with partners, media and stakeholders.

Smith is heavily engaged in numerous educational and cultural endeavors at the state level, including serving as chair of the Oregon Arts Commission and the Oregon Cultural Trust. He sits on Governor Kitzhaber’s Early Learning Council, which is charged with redefining and guiding efforts to fund the most effective early-childhood education programs and ensure they mesh with K-12 schooling in the state. He also serves on the board of the Chalkboard Project, an initiative of Foundations For A Better Oregon, sponsored by a growing list of independent Oregon foundations.

Smith is a fourth generation Oregonian and a graduate of Northwestern University and the Willamette University College of Law. He is a member of the Oregon State Capitol Foundation, a director of Philanthropy Northwest, a former president of the Roseburg Area Chamber of Commerce, and a former chairman of Grantmakers of Oregon and Southwest Washington.

About Pacific Northwest College of Art
As Oregon’s flagship college of art and design since 1909, Pacific Northwest College of Art has helped shape Oregon’s visual arts landscape for more than a century. PNCA students study with award-winning faculty in small classes. In the last seven years, PNCA has doubled both the student body and full-time faculty, quadrupled its endowment, and added innovative undergraduate and graduate programs. PNCA is now embarking on its boldest venture yet by establishing the Arlene and Harold Schnitzer Center for Art and Design as an anchor for the College’s vision of a new campus home on Portland’s North Park Blocks. Focusing on the transformative power of creativity, the capital campaign, Creativity Works Here, was launched in June 2012 with a lead gift from The Harold & Arlene Schnitzer CARE Foundation of $5 million. PNCA’s new home will be a bustling hub for creativity and entrepreneurship, reflecting the influential role of art and design in our 21st century economy – both in Portland and beyond. For more information, please visit

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