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John R. Frazier speeches and writings

Biographical note

A member of the Class of 1909 (Painting) and 1912 (Normal Art), John R. Frazier served RISD from 1923 until his death in 1966. Frazier joined RISD as Head of the Painting Department and became Chair of the Fine Arts Department in 1946 with the reorganization of the academic departments. Appointed as an interim president in 1955, he served until his retirement in 1962 when he became President Emeritus.

Frazier began his career as an Instructor at the Bradley Polytechnic Institute (Peoria, IL), 1912-1917. He worked at the University of Kansas, School of Fine Arts (Lawrence, KS), 1917-1923, as an Assistant Professor and Head of the Painting Department. From 1912 until the late 1920s, Frazier spent summers on Cape Cod, MA at Charles W. Hawthorne's Cape Cod School of Art (Provincetown) as a student and an assistant. He established his own Provincetown Summer School in 1930, the year of Hawthorne's death.

As President, Frazier instituted collegial ranks for Faculty, began the movement towards a tenure system, and revived faculty meetings that resulted in an independent faculty organization (1960) and a system of governance based upon administration and faculty committees (1962). He oversaw RISD's first capital campaign "Design for a Decade," which resulted in the construction of the Waterman Street dormitories and Metcalf Refectory in 1959. The Board of Trustees approved the creation of a Graduate Program in 1957. RISD abolished the Departments of Machine Design, Textile Engineering, and Textile Chemistry during Frazier's presidency. RISD instituted the European Honors Program, based in Rome, in 1960.

Frazier served as President of the Providence Art Club, 1945-1947.