Dr. Kwang-Wu Kim - President and CEO of Columbia College Chicago

Kwang-Wu Kim, D.M.A., is president and chief executive officer of Columbia College Chicago. He is the 10th president in the 123-year history of Columbia College. Appointed by a unanimous vote of the Board of Trustees and the Presidential Selection Advisory Panel, President Kim has served in this role since July 1st, 2013.

A native Chicagoan, President Kim is an outspoken advocate for the arts and a proponent of expanding the role of creative practice in society and he is deeply committed to preparing students to be creative agents in society.

With more than 30 years of experience in performance, teaching and administration, President Kim was most recently dean and director of the Herberger Institute for Design and the Arts at Arizona State University, which comprises the schools of Art; Arts, Media and Engineering; Dance; Design; Music; and Theatre and Film, as well as the ASU Art Museum. As dean and director, he led a faculty and staff of 500, serving over 5,000 students, and held a tenured professorship in the School of Music. While at Arizona State University, he led the development and creation of a new cross disciplinary B.A. in Digital Culture also securing $20 Million in private support to fund the initiative.

Prior to his work at Arizona State University, President Kim served as president of the Longy School of Music in Cambridge, Massachusetts, and as artistic and administrative director of El Paso Pro-Musica and co-founder of the El Paso Chamber Music Festival in El Paso, Texas. In addition to his professorship at Arizona State University, President Kim has held teaching positions at the Longy School of Music, the University of Texas at El Paso, the Peabody Institute, and Dickinson College.

Dr. Kim has been a guest speaker at Boston University and at the Harvard University Graduate School of Education and has served as guest faculty member at the St. Lawrence String Quartet Chamber Music Seminar at Stanford University, the Rotterdam Conservatory of Music, the Royal Conservatory in The Hague, and at the Banff Centre for the Arts. He has presented as an invited panelist for the National Association of Schools of Music, as well as serving as a juror at the New England Conservatory, the Boston Conservatory, and the Boston Arts Academy.  

President Kim holds a doctorate of musical arts and an artist diploma from the Peabody Institute of Johns Hopkins University, where he studied with legendary pianist and conductor Leon Fleisher and served as Fleisher’s teaching associate. He received his bachelor’s degree in philosophy, magna cum laude, from Yale University.

As a pianist, President Kim made his solo debuts at New York City’s Metropolitan Museum of Art and Washington D.C.’s Phillips Collection, his orchestral debut with the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra under the baton of Lukas Foss, and was presented at the Marlboro Festival by then artistic director, Rudolf Serkin.

In addition to his presidential role, Dr. Kim serves as a faculty member in the Columbia College Chicago Department of Music.

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