Carnegie Mellon University vice provost Dr. Molly Wright Steenson, author, architectural historian and design professor, joins ASI as new leader

MINNEAPOLIS, March 22, 2023 /PRNewswire/ — The American Swedish Institute is pleased to announce today that Dr. Molly Wright Steenson (she/her), Carnegie Mellon University vice provost for faculty, associate professor in the School of Design and the K&L Gates Associate Professor of Ethics and Computational Technology, will join the Minneapolis cultural center and museum as president and CEO. 

Dr. Steenson is an internationally recognized author, academic leader and keynote speaker. She is tenured in the School of Design at Carnegie Mellon, holds an affiliate appointment in the School of Architecture, and was previously senior associate dean for research in the College of Fine Arts. Prior to Carnegie Mellon, she was an assistant tenure-track professor in the School of Journalism & Mass Communication at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, a visiting researcher at the Umeå University HUMLab in Umeå, Sweden, and a professor at the Interaction Design Institute Ivrea in Italy. Dr. Steenson is the author of Architectural Intelligence: How Designers and Architects Created the Digital Landscape (MIT Press) which explores the history of design, architecture, and AI. Dr. Steenson holds a PhD in architecture from Princeton University and a Master’s in environmental design from the Yale School of Architecture. Before her career in academia, Dr. Steenson worked in San Francisco, New York and Munich with the Web in the 1990s and early 2000s as one of the first user experience designers.

“We are thrilled to find this perfect match in Dr. Steenson — she is the very values-driven, innovative, collaborative, and strategic person we hoped to find to sustain all that made Bruce Karstadt a wonderful leader. Her career path is exciting — from her work in design and digital to architectural history, she has the vision to help us flourish,” says Dr. Margaret Adamek, board chair, American Swedish Institute. “Dr. Steenson’s background, her vision for local, regional and global engagement, her relationship-building, highly attuned listening skills, and her entrepreneurial approach to it all means we’re in great hands. And, she’s a maker, interested in craft, food and language, so we know she’ll find a home here.”

“Joining this incredible cultural institution is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity — and the chance to return home and make a meaningful impact on this community is an extra gift,” says Dr. Molly Steenson. “This is my dream job, marking a convergence of many strands of leadership in my business and academic careers, as well as my architectural and design background. Also, I have a personal connection to ASI — I am originally from St. Paul, Minn., grew up visiting ASI, I have lived and worked in Sweden, and retain close family ties there. I’m honored to guide the American Swedish Institute as it extends its reach.” 

Dr. Steenson will join ASI in July 2023, succeeding retiring president and CEO Bruce Karstadt, who has led ASI for more than 30 years. 

American Swedish Institute (ASI), designated to the National Register for Historic Places, is home to the Turnblad Mansion, a historic a historic castle-like mansion, museum and cultural center, and a gathering place for all people to explore diverse experiences of migration, identity, belonging, and the environment through arts and culture, informed by enduring links to Sweden. ASI, which The Wall Street Journal calls “[a] model of how a small institution can draw visitors through exciting programming,” is located at 2600 Park Avenue in Minneapolis. For more, visit

Jennifer Weismann
[email protected]

SOURCE American Swedish Institute

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