Curriculum

Head of American arts academy stepping down after 27 years

The American Academy of Arts and Letters will soon have new leadership.

Executive director Virginia Dajani is stepping down after 27 years, the academy told The Associated Press on Thursday. She will be succeeded by Cody Upton, currently the director of operations. During her time as executive director, Dajani presided over numerous capital projects and helped expand the academy's lucrative awards programs.

Dozens of honors are given annually, the prize money exceeding $1 million. Dajani also helped guide the organization's transition from the National Institute of Arts and Letters, of which the academy was a separate entity, to the National Academy of Arts and Letters.

The academy is an honor society founded in 1898. Members over the years have included Mark Twain, Duke Ellington and Joan Didion.