Q&A with MIAD President Jeffrey Morin, who knows firsthand how hard it can be for first-generation college students to succeed.

In the three and a half years since Jeffrey Morin [MFA ’87] became president of the Milwaukee Institute of Art and Design, the college’s enrollment numbers have risen steadily, even as university enrollment declined nationally. And nearly half of MIAD’s freshman class is made up of first-generation students, like Morin himself, who grew up in a remote Maine town where college is, literally and figuratively, too far away for many residents.

Morin’s parents ran a small gas station near the Canadian border. Morin knew from a young age that he wanted to teach art, and he understood that he’d need to leave his home and enroll in a university to realize that dream.

Today, Morin holds a bachelor’s degree from Temple University and two advanced degrees from UW-Madison. He also maintains an art practice of his own – working on paintings, drawings and art books in addition to overseeing MIAD’s administrative operations. Under his watch, the university has been recognized as a top design school.

We recently sat down with Morin to chat about Milwaukee’s art scene and the value of higher education.


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