Brian Pellinen named President of Montserrat College of Art


After serving as interim president, Brian Pellinen has been named President of Montserrat College of Art following a year-long national search.  Pellinen, 53, stepped in to fill the vacancy left by former President Kurt T. Steinberg, who left the school in January 2023 to oversee operations at the Peabody Essex Museum.

Pellinen will be the Montserrat’s eighth president.

“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," said Trustees Chair Mercedes Sherrod Evans.  "Working with the search firm, Isaacson Miller of Boston, the trustees and search committee conducted a nationwide search, interviewed many candidates, and determined that Brian is the best choice for Montserrat’s future.”

Commenting on his new role, Pellinen was enthusiastic.

“I first started at Montserrat in 2005; I 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.," he said.  "It is an absolute honor to be able to lead this college into its bright future. 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.”

An accomplished higher education administrator, he has served in academic leadership positions for 30 years. President Pellinen served as Academic Dean of Montserrat since 2017 and, before that, as Associate Dean from 2005 to 2009. He has also worked as the Academic Dean of Professional Studies at Endicott College, Vice President of Academic Affairs at Nashua Community College, and Chair of Language and Letters at Northern New Mexico College.He has also been a teaching faculty member at several of his prior institutions.

During his service as Academic Dean, he was credited with helping to lead the college through the challenges of COVID-19, landing grants and gifts that increased internship and mentorship opportunities, successfully hiring new full-time faculty members, and creating new areas of study. Under Brian’s leadership in Academic Affairs, the college ranked for the first time by the US News and World Report guide to the country’s best colleges, gaining notice in the “North Region” and “Social Mobility” categories.

Pellinen holds a Master's Degree from the York University, in Toronto, Ontario and a Bachelor of Arts in English from the University of Minnesota, Minneapolis.  He is also an active visual artist and writer with recent shows in Massachusetts and theater performances produced in Washington DC’s Fringe Festival. 

Montserrat College of Art is a private, residential college of visual art educating designers, artists, and entrepreneurs seeking to be prepared for work life at the intersection of art, design and technology.  The college offers international study programs, 12 concentrations, five minors and a required internship program.  Montserrat alumni are employed by some of the country's biggest brands, including Disney, Puma, Hasbro, and more.