Ringling College of Art and Design

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Ringling College of Art and Design
Other name
Former names
The School of Fine and Applied Art of the John and Mable Ringling Art Museum,[1] Ringling School of Art
Art School
EstablishedMarch 31, 1931; 89 years ago (1931-03-31)
FounderLudd M. Spivey
Academic affiliation
Endowment$53.3 million (2019)[2]
PresidentLarry R. Thompson[3]
Academic staff
Location, ,
United States

Coordinates: 27°21′38″N 82°32′53″W / 27.3606697°N 82.5480817°W / 27.3606697; -82.5480817
48 acres (19 ha)
Logo of Ringling College of Art and Design
Ringling College of Art and Design is located in Florida
Ringling College of Art and Design
Location of RCAD
Ringling College of Art and Design is located in the United States
Ringling College of Art and Design
Ringling College of Art and Design (the United States)

Ringling College of Art and Design (RCAD) is a private college focused on art and design and located in Sarasota, Florida.[5] It was founded by Ludd M. Spivey as an art school in 1931 as a remote branch of Southern College but separated by 1933.


The school was established in 1931, as a remote branch of Southern College.[5] The art school separated from Southern College and became an independent nonprofit institution in 1933 and has changed names several times. It qualified for full accreditation as a degree-granting institution by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools on December 11, 1979. Upon joining as a member, accreditation by the National Association of Schools of Art was granted in 1984.

The campus included the Longboat Key Center for the Arts, which operated from 1952 to 2017.[6][7]


The college offers BFA degrees and BA degrees and operates on a semester academic term system.[5]


The Alfred R. Goldstein Library is an informational, educational, and social hub for RCAD’s students and faculty.[8] Designed specifically for its creative students, the library’s collection includes children’s literature, game arts, graphic novels, letterpress, book arts, pop up books, special collections, reference, and online resources.[9] The 46,000-square-foot library houses over 75,000 books and periodicals.[10]

The library hosts an independent art publishing book fair called Paper Jam. Organized jointly with Letterpress and Book Arts Center and the Brizdle-Schoenberg Special Collections Center and in collaboration with SRQ Zine Fest, the annual event features a wide array of creative books and experimental printed items that highlight local and diverse perspectives.[11]

The library originated as a first floor location on the east side of campus. Its new modern facility, completed in January of 2017, is centrally located, physically representing the mission of the library as the heart of its college. The $20 million dollar library, designed by Shepley Bulfinch and Sweet Sparkman Architects, is significantly larger than its predecessor. It features furnishings selected by RCAD students, bright colors, a 24-hour lab, a café, ten group study areas, and 4 terraces overlooking Whitaker Bayou. American Libraries, a publication of the American Library Association, featured the Alfred R. Goldstein Library in its yearly Library Design Showcase later in 2017.[12][13][14]

Alfred Goldstein, the library’s namesake, was a local benefactor. Along with his wife Ann, he contributed to many Sarasota organizations and funded the Ann Goldstein Children’s Rainforest Garden at the Marie Selby Botanical Gardens.[15] The library naming ceremony took place on February 15, 2016.[16]

Misconduct and Related Lawsuit[edit]

On June 22, an alumni of the school, Megan Ruiz, openly warned on Twitter against being near Christopher Shaffer, a now-former college administrator, and associate dean of residence life.[17] Since Ruiz' post, she had gathered accusations by other former students of Shaffer mishandling a sexual assault allegation, calling a transgender student "an abomination," sharing medical information, using his position in being a dean as leverage, and being described as "'demeaning' and 'inappropriate.'" A mother of a former student, Kathleen Bostick, claimed to have reported to the school "several times," with each one being ignored.

Two days later, the college released a statement that there was an investigation into Shaffer's "alleged behavior."[17]

After these allegations came to light, Shaffer filed a defamation lawsuit against Ruiz for spreading a "false story" in an interview with the The Bradenton Herald, a local newspaper.[18] The lawsuit claims that the college's investigation had concluded that "no wrongdoing" by Shaffer had occurred, however the college disputed the notion that the investigation had completed.

On September 10, Larry Thompson released a letter that Shaffer had been fired, and had announced changes to their reporting system.[19]

Notable alumni[edit]


  1. ^ "About us". Ringling College of Art and Design. Retrieved May 12, 2019.
  2. ^ As of June 30, 2019. "U.S. and Canadian 2019 NTSE Participating Institutions Listed by Fiscal Year 2019 Endowment Market Value, and Percentage Change in Market Value from FY18 to FY19 (Revised)". National Association of College and University Business Officers and TIAA. Retrieved September 20, 2020.
  3. ^ "Leadership & Administration". Ringling College of Art and Design. Retrieved May 12, 2019.
  4. ^ "At A Glance 2018-19" (PDF). Ringling College of Art and Design. Retrieved May 12, 2019.
  5. ^ a b c "Overview of Ringling College of Art and Design". US News.
  6. ^ "A Fond Farewell to Longboat Key Center for the Arts". Sarasota Magazine. Retrieved 2020-01-30.
  7. ^ Becnel, Thomas (April 29, 2020). "Ringling College reconsiders Longboat Key Art Center project". Sarasota Herald-Tribune. Retrieved 2020-04-14.
  8. ^ "Alfred R. Goldstein Library". Ringling College of Art + Design. Ringling College of Art and Design. Retrieved April 20, 2020.
  9. ^ "Library Catalog". Ringling College of Art + Design. Ringling College of Art and Design, Alfred R. Goldstein Library. Retrieved April 20, 2020.
  10. ^ "Alfred R. Goldstein Library". The Sarasota Observer. March 9, 2017.
  11. ^ "Paper Jam". Paper Jam. Ringling College of Art and Design. Retrieved April 20, 2020.
  12. ^ "Alfred R. Goldstein College Library at the Ringling College of Art and Design". University Business. 5: 15. 2018.
  13. ^ Pirman, J. (2017). "Alfred R. Goldstein Library, Ringling College". Sarasota Magazine. 9: 180.
  14. ^ Morehart, P. (2017). "2017 Library Design Showcase". American Libraries. 48 (9/10): 26-33.
  15. ^ Brugmann, Anna (June 29, 2017). "Alfred R. Goldstein: A legacy etched in stone". The Longboat Observer: 4.
  16. ^ "Topping-Out and Naming Ceremony Heralds The Ringling College Alfred R. Goldstein Library and Appointment of Kristina Keogh as Director of Library Services; New Ringling College of Art and Design campus library slated to open fall 2016". GlobeNewswire. February 12, 2016.
  17. ^ a b Sabella, Giuseppe (July 20, 2020). "Ringling College students, alumni demand action against dean over his 'demeaning' conduct". Bradenton Herald. Retrieved October 8, 2020.
  18. ^ Sabella, Giuseppe (August 26, 2020). "Former student complained about a Ringling College dean. Now he's suing her for defamation". Bradenton Herald. Retrieved October 8, 2020.
  19. ^ Sabella, Giuseppe (September 10, 2020). "Ringling College fires dean after students, alumni complain about his behavior". Bradenton Herald. Retrieved October 8, 2020.
  20. ^ "Arts and Artists: Andrew Jones". www.imersa.org. Retrieved 2020-01-30. He attended the Ringling School of Art and Design in Sarasota FL, where he trained in traditional academic drawing/painting and animation.

External links[edit]