Santa Fe University of Art and Design president John Gordon stepped down Tuesday, the school announced.
According to a news release, Gordon is leaving the university “to pursue other interests, including a return to his career as an artist full time.”
Gordon is a sculptor whose art has been shown in museums and galleries across the U.S.
He was the first full-fledged president of the university in its current form, under the ownership of for-profit Laureate Education.
Previously the College of Santa Fe, the school dated back to the 19th century as a Christian Brothers school. In 2009 it came close to closing because of financial problems, but the Santa Fe City Council bought the campus for $40 million and leased it to Laureate, which runs a network of schools around the world.
Gordon did not return messages seeking comment. His first day was exactly one year ago today — June 1, 2010 — but a representative for the school said he was not working under any sort of one-year contract.
Tom Aageson, a member of the university’s board of directors, said in a statement: “John has guided the university throughout an important year in its history. During his leadership, enrollments at Santa Fe University of Art and Design significantly increased, and our renaming further strengthened our reputation as a global leader in art and design.”
The university had 429 students this spring. During the last semester before the campus was sold, its enrollment was around 200.
Laurence Hinz will serve as interim president while the school’s board of directors searches for Gordon’s replacement. Hinz was interim president before Gordon was hired. He serves on the board and worked closely in 2009 with the state, city and Laureate on a financing deal that kept the school open.
Cutline – GORDON: Hired as president June 1, 2010