Dr. Roger Mandle, Executive Director of the Qatar Museums Authority, addressed VCUQatar’s eighth graduating class of 51 graduates as commencement speaker during the afternoon ceremonies held on 2 May, 2009. Shortly thereafter the President of VCU Dr. Eugene P. Trani invited Dr. Mandle back to the podium to confer upon him the Honorary Doctorate.
“Each year at commencement, we give special recognition to individuals whose careers and values have done much to enhance the quality of life of communities here and around the world,” said Dr. Trani. “This year, we are pleased to present of the Honorary Doctor of Humane Letters to Dr. Roger Mandle. This is Virginia Commonwealth University’s highest form of recognition. It acknowledges those who have made outstanding contributions to society through scholarship, humanitarianism, science, art and public service,” he added.
Dr. Trani was joined by VCU Rector, Tom Rosenthal, in the presentation while Vice Provost for International affairs and Dean of the Virginia Schools of Arts Dr. Richard E. Toscan and VCUQatar Dean Allyson Vanstone performed the hooding.
Dr. Roger Mandle brings to his post in Qatar more than four decades of experience as a senior museum executive and arts educator. As executive director, Dr. Mandle is responsible for the development and implementation of a strategic plan for Qatar’s entire complex of museums. Prior to coming to Qatar from the Rhode Island School of Design, Dr. Mandle was a nationally known advocate for the far-reaching impact of art, design and education. During his 15-year tenure at RISD, he set ambitious priorities and goals, spearheaded inclusive planning processes and led the institution through a period of tremendous growth. Dr. Mandle is also the former deputy director and chief curator of the National Gallery of Art in Washington, DC, where he was an outspoken arts activist and oversaw all aspects of managing the museum.
While in the capital, Dr. Mandle served as a member of the National Committee for Education Standards in the Arts and helped write the position paper Education Goals 2000: Standards in the Arts. Both President Ronald Reagan and President George H.W. Bush appointed him to the National Council on the Arts, one of many policymaking and advisory groups he has served on and led over the years.
Dr. Mandle received a Bachelor of Arts degree in studio art and art history from Williams College, and a Master of Arts degree with a certificate in museum training from New York University. A specialist in aesthetics and Dutch art, he also holds a Ph.D. from Case Western Reserve University.