Fred Lazarus’s “three to five year” tenure at MICA ends after 35 years

MICA president announced his retirement

Edited by Max Weiss - December 2013

20 Events of 2013: Fred Lazarus’s “three to five year” tenure at MICA ends after 35 years

MICA president announced his retirement

Edited by Max Weiss - December 2013


MICA President Fred Lazarus announced his retirement in April, marking an end to an impressive, if unlikely, academic career that transformed the school and the area around it.

In a memo informing colleagues of his decision, Lazarus noted that he initially expected the job to last “three to five years," but it turned out to be a 35-year run. “When I started, I did not have the traditional background that one should have had," he wrote. “I was not an artist, I had never worked in higher education, and I am even color blind . . . [I] have always been grateful to the college for taking such a risk."

It certainly paid off, as Lazarus leaves behind a much different institution than he inherited. MICA has, over the past three decades, grown into a top-tier art school, one that attracts distinguished faculty and students from all over the world, thanks largely to Lazarus's visionary leadership and fundraising skills.

During his tenure, MICA evolved into a residential campus, constructed high-profile buildings like the Brown Center and its Gateway residence facility, and expanded its footprint into surrounding neighborhoods. As a result, it has played an important role in the revitalization of the city.

There would be no Station North without MICA, no transformation of the North Avenue area that's now home to various arts venues and clubs, and probably no City Arts apartments or Baltimore Design School in Greenmount West. Ultimately, it all goes back to Lazarus, who figures to be a hard act to follow.

“I still do not know why I was hired."—Fred Lazarus





You May Also Like


Arts & Culture

Book Reviews: October 2019

The latest from Rusty Tagliareni, Christina Mathews, and Jack Slocomb

Arts District

What the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra’s One-Year Agreement Means For its Musicians

After a tension-filled absence, the BSO’s 104th season will open this weekend.

The Chatter

Karyn Parsons Appearing at Baltimore Book Festival

The Fresh Prince of Bel Air actress talks becoming an author, process, and spinoff reports.


On The Town

How to Customize Your Brilliant Baltimore Experience

Our activity-based guide to the first-of-its-kind festival taking over the Inner Harbor November 1-10.

Arts & Culture

Final Words

As the Newseum prepares to close, here are the top things to do and see inside its hallowed halls.

Arts & Culture

Dead Poet's Society

Edgar Allan Poe continues to entertain and inspire Baltimoreans from beyond the grave.

Connect With Us

Most Read


The Orioles Aren’t Moving Out of Town, But They Have a Long Way To Go: Putting a wrap on relocation rumors and the O’s predictable 2019 season.

North Ave. Market Celebrates Grand Opening in Station North: Pending liquor board approval, Baltimore will finally have a bar-and-arcade concept.

John Waters is the Newest Male Face of Nike: Waters is one of three celebrities chosen to be in '90s-inspired Nordstrom x Nike campaign.

Boys' Latin Honors Military History with In-School Museum: At the Roland Park private school, wartime memorabilia forges lasting personal connections.

Miller Steps Down as Maryland Senate President; Baltimore's Bill Ferguson Tapped to Succeed: Longest serving Senate president in state history has been battling cancer.