Brian Pellinen Appointed Montserrat President

March 28, 2024

The Salem News article about President Pellinen’s appointment, written by Staff Reporter Paul Leighton, reproduced below.

BEVERLY — Montserrat College of Art has named Brian Pellinen as its new president.

Pellinen has served as the college’s interim president since January of 2023, following the departure of former president Kurt Steinberg, and has worked at Montserrat since 2005. He will be the eighth president in the history of the school, which is in downtown Beverly.

In announcing Pellinen’s appointment on Wednesday, the college said he was selected after a year-long national search and interviews with many candidates.

“Brian has shown his effectiveness as a leader during the past year through his careful attention to the student-centered mission of Montserrat, his receipt of a $2.1 million federal grant, his push to launch new degree programs and opportunities for adult-learners, and his relentless community-wide efforts to raise the profile of Montserrat,” Trustees Chair Mercedes Sherrod Evans said in announcing the decision.

Pellinen has worked in academic leadership positions for 30 years, including as an academic dean and associate dean at Montserrat. Before that he held leadership positions at Endicott College, Nashua Community College and Northern New Mexico College. He has also been a teaching faculty member at several of his prior colleges.

Pellinen has a master’s degree from York University in Toronto and a bachelor of arts in English from the University of Minnesota.

He’s an active visual artist and writer with recent shows in Massachusetts and theater performances produced in Washington, D.C.’s Fringe Festival.

“It is an absolute honor to be able to lead this college into its bright future,” Pellinen said in accepting the appointment as president. “I’m grateful to the community that put its trust in me. Montserrat is transformative to the people who study and work here and transformative to the City of Beverly. I’m excited to launch the college into its next chapter and see how our future graduates will shape their world.”

Pellinen said when he first started at Montserrat in 2005 he “immediately fell in love with the incredibly creative students, the small, personalized education model that allows for students to be themselves and find themselves, and the way faculty and staff pull together to help ensure our graduates find success.”

In his role as academic dean, the college credited Pellinen with helping to lead Montserrat through the challenges of COVID-19, landing grants and gifts that increased internship and mentorship opportunities, the hiring of new full-time faculty members, and the creation of new areas of study.

Under his leadership in academic affairs, the college said, Montserrat achieved a ranking for the first time by the U.S. News and World Report guide to the country’s best colleges, in the “North Region” and “Social Mobility” categories.

Photograph of President Pellinen taken by David Shopper.