Grafton J. Nunes is the current President and CEO of the Cleveland Institute of Art. On June 30th, 2022, he will step down as the 10th President after an extraordinary period of achievement and expansion. On July 1st, he will assume the Chair of the Board of the Future Vision Foundation. He has a passion for cinema, storytelling, education and brings a lifetime of expertise in the Arts to the Foundation. Welcome Grafton!
During his tenure at CIA, President Nunes has overseen increased enrollment at the college, greater diversity among the student body, completion of a highly successful $75 million capital campaign, the award-winning renovation of the school’s signature historic building, and construction of a new building with classrooms, studio spaces, animation facilities two galleries and a cinema, as well as two new residence halls for freshmen and upper classmen. The college carries no debt for its new academic complex.
President Nunes has grown the school’s enrollment to over 600 students, an all-time high. When he arrived at CIA, 5% of the student body was diverse. Today, the percentage is 32%. Ten years ago, the international student population was 2%. In the last academic year, it was 11%. During his tenure, he has led CIA through degree accreditation twice and subject accreditation once, as well as a strategic planning process that involved all college and friend constituencies. Nunes has stabilized the college’s finances, reducing a high spending rate of the endowment to less than 5%. He right-sized the college’s administrative structure, stream-lining layers of management to increase clarity responsibility and efficiency.
Nunes has forged many relationships through membership on several boards and board committees, including the Greater Cleveland Film Commission, the Cleveland Arts Association (CARTA), the Union Club, University Circle Incorporated and the Ingenuity Festival. Nationally, he has served on the Board of the Association of Independent Colleges of Art and Design (AICAD) and the National Association of Independent Colleges and Universities (NAICU), where he chaired the Student Financial Aid Committee. Nunes has offered seminars on Fundraising and Community Relations to new administrators at annual meetings of the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD), CIA’s subject accreditor, and served as a NASAD team member for numerous site evaluation visits. He has recently been elected to the NASAD Board, serving as Board Secretary.
Nunes believes a city’s renaissance is tied to the strength of its public schools. Nunes was on the advisory committee for re-imagining Cleveland’s arts public high school and served on that school’s Board. He has advised the development of the Skyline School, an innovative K through 8 public school of art and technology. He serves on the Board of New Bridge, an organization that prepares inner-city adults and high school students for careers in health care or design.
Nunes has spoken publically about art/design, higher education and CIA issues before business, civic and media groups, including the Union Club, In-town Club, City Club of Cleveland (NPR), The Sound of Applause (NPR), Judson/South Franklin Circle and the Benjamin Rose Center for Aging Well. He was recognized for his contributions to Cleveland’s cultural life with the Robert Bergman Award, bestowed by the Cleveland Arts Prize in 2017. He has been named one of Cleveland’s top 50 business leaders by Crain’s Business and one of its 500 most influential people by Cleveland Magazine. Under his leadership, the college has received high rankings in Industrial Design, Photography and most recently, Animation (named by The Rookies as the #2 animation school in the world). Princeton Review has consistently ranked CIA “Best in the Midwest” in art and design.
Nunes came to the Cleveland Institute of Art from Emerson College where he served as dean of the School of the Arts, a school he founded and led for 12 years. During his tenure at Emerson, Nunes built a program that grew to national prominence, with 3,000 students taught by 111 full-time and 150 part-time faculty members. He was instrumental in raising substantial funds for artists in residence, student scholarships, master teachers and new state-of-the-art facilities in performing arts, film, television, audio and photography. He instituted the MFA program in Media Arts which was recently ranked #9 in America by The Hollywood Reporter.
He served on the Emerson team with Pritzker Award winning architect Thom Mayne to program and produce the initial design for Emerson’s signature LA campus on Sunset Boulevard in Hollywood. He participated in the renovation and restoration of the Cutler Majestic Theater and the Paramount Theater, construction of the Vin diBona Television Studios and the Kevin Bright Cinema, dance and acting studios and a film sound stage. He was also instrumental in recruiting Robert Orchard to inaugurate ArtsEmerson, Emerson’s award-winning contribution to bringing the best of international performance art to Boston. Emerson alumni and donors Nunes worked with include Kevin Bright, Doug Herzog, Spalding Gray, Henry Winkler, Denis Leary, Terry Semel, Robert Gersh, Vin DiBona, Aaron Ryder, Holly Bario, Andrea Martin, Jay Leno and Steven Wright. Visiting artists he brought to Emerson include Whoppie Goldberg, Jane Alexander, Julie Taymor, Anna Deveare Smith, N. Scott Momaday, Alice Hoffman and Edward Albee.
Prior to his time at Emerson, Nunes served for 22 years at Columbia University in positions of increasing responsibility, concluding his time there by serving as Associate Dean of Columbia’s School of the Arts under deans Peter Smith and Robert Fitzpatrick. As administrator of Columbia’s Film Division, Nunes recruited Milos Forman and Frantisek Daniel as co-chairs and assisted them in re-structuring the curriculum program to emphasize screenwriting, directing and producing. As Director of the Columbia-Shubert Program in Theatre Management and Producing, Nunes worked with Andrew Harris and Howard Stein to train theater professionals for both the commercial and not-for profit theater. Faculty in the program included Jerzy Grotowski, Liviu Ciulei, Alan Schneider, Travis Preston, Frank Rich, Gerald Schoenfeld, Bernie Jacobs, Paul Libin, and Barry Grove.
As Associate Dean of the School of the Arts, Nunes worked with Allan Hacklin to resurrect and restructure Columbia’s Visual Arts MFA, recruiting artists Gregory Amenoff, Jon Kessler and Archie Rand. After Howard Stein’s retirement, he worked with Arnold Aronson to recruit Andrei Serban, Eduardo Machado, Romulus Linney and Anne Bogart to the Theater Arts Division. After Milos Forman’s retirement and Frank Daniel’s relocating to USC, Nunes worked with chairs Dick Ross, Annette Insdorf and Lewis Cole to further develop the media writing, directing and producing programs in a film school which is currently ranked #4 by The Hollywood Reporter. Students Nunes worked with at Columbia include Ron Nyswaner, Kathryn Bigelow, Jeph Loeb, Kim Pierce, James Mangold, James Gunn, Roger Durling, Hal Luftig, Diane Paulus, Carol Bixler and Nicki Genovese.
In addition to his work in higher education, Nunes worked as a film writer and producer, including assisting writer/director Paul Schrader on his screenplay Light of Day and producing The Loveless, the first feature film co-directed by Oscar-winner Kathryn Bigelow and starring, in his first leading role, Willem Dafoe. He also worked as a freelance journalist, contributing feature articles on film and television production to such publications as Millimeter, American Cinematographer and VideoPro.
Nunes is a graduate of Columbia University with an MFA in film history, theory, and criticism (1981), and an M.Phil. in theater history and film studies (1991). At the College of the Holy Cross he received his BA in English and Religion in 1972.
Suber S. Huang, MD, MBA is the President/CEO of The Future Vision Foundation, FutureVisionFound.org, whose mission celebrates breakthrough vision research through powerful documentaries of discovery, impact, and hope. He is committed to clinical excellence, innovative research, and world-wide education. Dr. Huang is currently CEO of the Retina Center of Ohio and Voluntary Assistant Clinical Professor of Ophthalmology at Bascom Palmer Eye Institute, University of Miami. Dr. Huang is Chair, NEI/NIH National Eye Health Education Program and is the AAO representative to the United States Pharmacopeia (USP). He is the former AAO Associate Secretariat of Federal Affairs; Chair, Research, Regulatory, and External Scientific Affairs Committee; and Chair, Compounding Pharmacy taskforce, and is the current AAO representative to the USP. He founded the Retina Image Bank, now the world’s largest and most comprehensive open-access multimedia database of “all things retina”. With over 40,000 images contributed, imagebank.asrs.org links expertise around the world and, in 2019, will exceed 2 million cumulative page-views. The Retina Image Bank has been used in 194 countries representing 99.2% of the world’s population. He is an editor for the APJO and APAO Chair, Retina Vitreous on-line education. He is a founding officer of Retina Global, bioscience advisor to the Anderson Scholars program and Life Trustee at the University School. He is editor-in-chief of the ASRS Retina Atlas with expected completion in 2020
From 1993-2014, Dr. Huang’s leadership positions in the CWRU Department of Ophthalmology and Visual Sciences include: Philip and Elizabeth Searle – Suber Huang MD Professor and Vice-Chair, Residency Program Director, and Director, Center for Retina and Macular Disease. He founded the Retina Diseases Image Analysis Reading Center and was Director of the Visual Sciences Research Center.
He received his undergraduate degree at Johns Hopkins University, medical degree from the Albert Einstein College of Medicine, ophthalmology residency at the Wilmer Eye Institute/Johns Hopkins University and fellowship in Vitreoretinal Diseases and Surgery from Bascom Palmer Eye Institute (BPEI)/University of Miami. He has graduate training at the Harvard University, Wharton School of Business/University of Pennsylvania, and received his Executive MBA from the Weatherhead School of Management/Case Western Reserve University (CWRU).
Dr. Huang has participated in numerous clinical trials as PI and as Director of the Retina Disease Image Analysis Reading Center at CWRU. He has published widely, given nearly 400 lectures, and has served as Program Chair for retina surgery for the APAO and AAO retina sub-specialty day. He is the IMSM for the Argus II retina prosthesis programs, Chair of the DMC for on-going gene therapy trials for NVAMD, for stem cell transplant trials in atrophic AMD, and the world’s largest trial of triple therapy for onchocerchiasis and lymphatic filariasis. He has active research interests in surgical innovation, gene therapy, the immunoregulatory properties of stem cells, and epigenomics.
Dr. Huang has received the “Top Doctors” and “Best Doctors in America” award each year since 2003, the AAO Secretariat Award (twice), and the AAO and ASRS Senior Achievement and Honor Awards. Other awards include the Rainbow Babies and Children’s Hospital Pediatric Innovation, OPS J. Donald M. Gass MD award, International Congress of Ophthalmic Photographers, the National Diversity Council Leadership Excellence Award, and the Cleveland Sight Center Person of the Year. He has received the CWRU Department of Ophthalmology Attending of the Year and cherishes the CWRU Humanism in Medicine award given annually to the School of Medicine faculty member who most demonstrates compassion and professionalism in the care of patients and their families.
In 2017, Dr. Huang was inducted to the Retina Hall of Fame and produced Seven Years of Darkness, which won the best short documentary at the national short film festival. In 2018, Dr. Huang received the Jose Rizal International Medal from the Asia-Pacific Academy of Ophthalmology, their highest recognition for contributions to education and clinical care.
Jon Bridge is the assistant headmaster for advancement at University School where he oversees the philanthropic life of the school, alumni relations, communications, and marketing. University School just completed a campaign where alumni, parents, and friends contributed more than $108 million, making it one of the largest independent day school campaigns in the country. Prior to University School, Jon had a 17-year tenure at his alma mater Denison University where he was senior development officer in major and planned giving and formerly director of their annual fund. He started his advancement career in 1985 at Riverdale Country School in New York City where he was director of alumni relations and oversaw communications.
Jon serves on the board of the Julie Billiard Network of Schools and is on the steering committee of the Independent School Leadership Group for the Council for the Advancement and Support of Education in Washington, DC. He also coaches squash at University School.
A graduate of Miami University, Laura found her way to FVF through an unassuming connection between puppies & purpose. As a Delta Gamma in college, she worked on fundraising events & awareness campaigns for their philanthropy, ‘aid to the blind’. Because her grandmother suffered vision loss due to macular degeneration, Laura felt a direct connection to these philanthropic efforts, which prevails today. Since 2015, her family has volunteered as puppy raisers for Guiding Eyes for the Blind, raising & training future guide dogs. While volunteering with her 9 week old GEB puppy at the white cane walk for the Cleveland Sight Center, Laura met Dr. Huang & was soon introduced to FVF. Later, she attended the Cleveland Film Festival’s showing of the ‘Pick of the Litter’ with a 14 month old GEB puppy-in-training, meeting with the director & guide dog teams from the film. Educating people about the patient investment it takes to raise & train a pup to successfully become a guide, and the importance of honoring the unique rules when engaging with a team is a deep passion. For 27+ years, Laura enjoyed a successful career in the hospitality industry in sales leadership, marketing, and national sales training roles for Marriott, Maritz and hotel management companies across the Midwest and east coast. In this space, Laura also facilitated education & training for organizations about the important distinctions afforded to legitimate service animals teams. In her present role, Laura is dedicated to serving clients & organizations across NEO, as a senior business development & relationship manager for Sikich. One of the largest professional services firms in the US, Sikich provides a robust breadth of services & expertise across CPA, Technology, and Business Advisory services to help strengthen mid-market privately held companies & NFP organizations. Laura is delighted to support the work of FVF, helping promote its mission of sharing medical triumphs toward vision restoration through compelling film. Except for the parade of GEB puppies in training, Laura and her husband Dave are officially empty nesters in Hudson, OH, where they raised two incredible daughters.
Sung Cha is an executive at Progressive (NYSE: PGR), the third largest auto insurer in the country, a leading seller of motorcycle and commercial auto insurance, and one of the top 15 homeowners insurance carriers. She currently leads the Direct Marketing Media group. During her 30+ years at Progressive, mostly in the Direct Business, she has also developed and managed in-house mass media and digital media teams that spent billions of dollars in effective performance marketing advertising contributing to the company's profitable growth. Sung has a BA from Wellesley College, MBA from Case Western Reserve University, and JD from Cleveland State University. She also serves on the board of Rainey Institute, a non-profit organization instilling positive growth for Greater Cleveland's youth through education and engagement in visual and performing arts.