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Berklee Names Dr. Lawrence Simpson Sr. VP Academic Affairs

Berklee College of Music President Roger H. Brown announced the appointment of Dr. Lawrence J. Simpson to the newly created position of Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs at the pioneering music college. At Berklee, Simpson will lead and oversee the academic initiatives of the college, including curriculum, faculty, and all areas directly related to teaching and learning. He joins the college on August 22.

Simpson comes to Berklee from Cleveland, Ohio, where he has been president and chief academic officer of Cuyahoga Community College’s Metropolitan Campus for the past year, and headed the Eastern Campus for the past eleven years. At Tri-C, and of particular interest to Berklee, he has been responsible for the growth and excellence of the college’s arts and cultural programs, including the nationally recognized Tri-C Jazz Festival-Cleveland, and the college’s recording arts and technology, and community music programs.

"Dr. Simpson is an experienced academic leader, a cultural activist, and a builder of community, who has also helped to create one of the great American jazz festivals," said Berklee President Brown. "Berklee has known Tri-C for many years through our articulation agreement with them, their excellent Jazz Studies Program, and the jazz festival," Brown continued. "So we know the commitment to quality Larry engenders in an institution. He brings a great enthusiasm for Berklee and our mission to this position, and we are thrilled to have him here."

"Being at Berklee will allow me to combine my twin passions: higher education and music," said Dr. Simpson. "I’m thrilled, and feel quite privileged to have this opportunity."

Dr. Lawrence Simpson has been president of the Metropolitan (since 2004) and Eastern (previous eleven years) campuses of Cuyahoga Community College over the past twelve years. Tri-C’s Metropolitan Campus serves a remarkably diverse, urban student population of 9,000, incorporating traditional and adult learners, advanced placement high school students, recent immigrants, and students of many nationalities and ethnicities. The college employs 450 full- and part-time faculty.

Under Simpson’s leadership, the campus has built new facilities, and created programs in engineering, natural science, health careers, physical education and athletics, in addition to its noted concentrations in the arts. He has developed and coordinated the campus’s long-range strategic planning process, worked closely with the faculty collective bargaining unit, and led accreditation initiatives for departments and programs.

He manages the college’s partnerships with the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum, Cleveland Museum of Art, and the Playhouse Square Foundation, and serves on the boards of the Association of Performing Arts Presenters (chair), the Community Partnership for Arts and Culture (chair), The Cleveland Orchestra, Young Audiences of Greater Cleveland, the Cleveland Institute of Music, the Museum of Contemporary Art, and the Downtown Cleveland Partnership.

Dr. Simpson has written and photographed for Down Beat, JazzTimes, and the Jazz Education Journal, and since 1993 has served on a variety of panels for the National Endowment for the Arts. He received his undergraduate degree from Kent State University, and his Ph.D. from the University of Pittsburgh, in social psychology.

Berklee College of Music was founded on the revolutionary principle that the best way to prepare students for careers in music was through the study and practice of contemporary music. For over half a century, the college has evolved constantly to reflect the state of the art of music and the music business. With over a dozen performance and nonperformance majors, a diverse and talented student body representing over 70 countries, and a music industry "who's who" of alumni, Berklee is the world's premier learning lab for the music of today -- and tomorrow.

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