Roger Mandle, a prominent figure within the museum world, has died at 79, according to the Associated Press. He reportedly died of a long illness in Dartmouth, Massachusetts, on Saturday.
Over the course of his career, Mandle served in various high-ranking positions at several U.S. museums, including the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C., the Toledo Museum of Art in Ohio, and the Minneapolis Institute of Art. And, toward the end of his life, from 2008 to 2012, he served as executive director at the Qatar Museums Authority, a Doha-based network that operates the Mathaf: Arab Museum of Modern Art, the Museum of Islamic Art, and other institutions in the country.
Mandle’s longest tenure in a leadership role was at the Rhode Island School of Design, where he served as president from 1993 to 2008. While at the Providence institution, Mandle quadrupled the art school’s endowment to $400 million and oversaw the creation of a museum designed by Pritzker Prize–winning architect Rafael Moneo.
Mandle once said of RISD, “My mission, my vision, is to contribute to our humanity and quality of life and to make Providence and the Rhode Island School of Design a globally recognized center of art, design and right-brained thinking.”
Prior to RISD, Mandle had been deputy director and chief curator at the National Gallery of Art from 1988 to 1993 and director of the Toledo Museum of Art from 1977 to 1988. He was also a member of the National Council on the Arts, which advises the chairman of the National Endowment of the Arts.
“The museum has become an integral part of building a society,” Mandle said in 2009 at an event in Qatar. “Enormous energy is needed to build a society. A museum does this through bringing the past and present together. Museums of today find out what society needs, and conceive it in a new way.”