Christ-Janer came to Sarasota in 1973 to serve as
president of New College, but his true contribution
to Sarasota was his work on behalf of Ringling School
of Art and Design where he served as president from
1984 to 1996 and again as interim president in 1998-99.
Christ-Janer served as president of New College from
1973 to 1975 and engineered the merger between then-struggling
New College and the University of South Florida. He
also served as president of Boston University, of
Stephens College in Missouri, of Cornell College in
Iowa and as president of the College Entrance Examination
Board in New York.
Christ-Janer took the helm as president of Ringling
School of Art and Design in 1984, the school had no
endowment and many of its buildings were falling apart.
Under his leadership and vision, the art school showed
an impressive pattern of development. New Mediterranean-style
buildings sprung up all over campus. The campus almost
doubled in size. Ringling went from a 3-year program
to a 4-year accredited program. During his tenure,
the school became accredited by the National Association
of School of Art and Design, which is the major accrediting
agency for visual arts.
with bringing a new sense of professionalism to Ringling,
Christ-Janer raised an endowment well over a million
dollars. The school began to receive over $400,000
in annual contributions. Students began to win scores
of national competitions. The school opened a new
major in Computer Animation in the late 1980s and
began to attract a high level of professors from around
the U.S. Foreign students began to come to Ringling
in large numbers, and U.S. News & World Report
named Ringling the Number 1 Up and Coming College
in America. Truly, Christ-Janer put Ringling School
of Art and Design on the map.
native of Garland, Nebraska, Arland Christ-Janer grew
up in an academic environment. His father was a parochial
school teacher. One of his brothers was a dean at
Pratt Institute in New York, and another brother taught
at Columbia and Yale.
left high school after his sophomore year to take
courses at the University of Missouri. He obtained
his BA degree from Minnesota's Carleton College. He
then went on to obtain degrees from the Yale Divinity
School and the University of Chicago Law School. While
at Carleton College, he was very influenced by the
school's president, Donald Cowling. He had transformed
Carleton into a fine liberal arts college, and he
demonstrated to Christ-Janer how satisfying a career
as an administrator could be.
active in Sarasota, Christ-Janer served on many boards,
including the New College Foundation, the Marie Selby
Botanical Gardens and the Ringling Museum of Art.
He served as chairman of the Sarasota Committee of
100 and on the economic development arm of the Sarasota
Chamber of Commerce. His late wife, the former Sally
Johnson Grice, was a hospital administrator and cellist.
She joined her husband in many community events. Their
legacy is the Sally and Arland Christ-Janer Scholarship
Fund for Ringling School of Art and Design students.
He has a studio where he constructs his geometric
paintings and sculpture. Truly, Dr. Christ-Janer has
been a Renaissance man for Sarasota.