Interim leadership named for Syracuse University Museum of Art

Marcelle Haddix, associate provost for strategic initiatives, today announced an interim leadership team for the Syracuse University Art Museum, a member of the Coalition of Museum and Art Centers (CMAC). Effective Friday, September 23, Emily Dittman will serve as Acting Director and Melissa Yuen as Acting Chief Curator. This announcement follows the announcement that Vanja Malloy, Director and Chief Curator since August 2019, has accepted a position at the University of Chicago.

“Vanja has done an outstanding job leading the Syracuse University Art Museum and provided creative and operational prowess that has enabled the museum’s growth,” Haddix says. “I appreciate his leadership and expertise and wish him the best in his new role. I also appreciate and express my deepest gratitude to Melissa and Emily for their eagerness to scale up and co-lead such a valuable part of the Syracuse University learning community. I look forward to working with them in their new roles.

“We are indebted to Vanja for her leadership, for bringing us together as an advisory board, and for her dedication to creating a visionary strategic plan and commitment to accreditation,” said Heather Nolin ’94, G’ 04, chair of the Syracuse University Art Museum Advisory Board. “We are thrilled to leverage Vanja’s strong commitment to these initiatives and are in good hands with Emily Dittman and Melissa Yuen.”

Dittman G’06, an alumnus and longtime member of the Syracuse University community, was first hired in 2004 as a research assistant at the museum (formerly known as Syracuse University Art Galleries). Since then, she has held several positions within the museum, including as Collections and Exhibitions Manager and most recently as Associate Director. She is also a teacher of museum studies in the School of Design at the College of Visual and Performing Arts. In her role as interim director, Dittman will provide direction and oversight of the museum’s day-to-day operations; administrative and financial management of collection activity; collection care and management; Security; marketing and communications; and donor and alumni engagement.

As Acting Chief Curator, Yuen is responsible for conducting scholarly research, generating exhibits, and facilitating access to and awareness of the museum’s collection of more than 45,000 objects. Yuen joined the Syracuse University Art Museum in December 2021 as a curator after serving as Associate Curator of Exhibits and Art Historian at the Sheldon Museum of Art at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. Prior to her role at Sheldon, Yuen was curator for European and American art until 1900 at Stanford University’s Cantor Arts Center. She holds a doctorate. in Art History from Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey, with a specialty in Italian Renaissance and Baroque art.

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