PHILADELPHIA, Sept. 4, 2013 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The Franklin Institute has announced today that after nearly 20 years of transformational leadership, President and Chief Executive Officer Dennis M. Wint will conclude his tenure effective December 31, 2014.
Dennis Wint said in a statement this morning, "It has been a tremendous honor to be a part of this great institution and all that has been accomplished these past many years. I will forever be grateful for the opportunities I have had to work with the Institute's committed Board of Trustees, highly talented staff and volunteers, and dedicated family of supporters, to elevate science learning and strengthen science education in the Philadelphia region and the nation."
The longest-serving president in the Institute's 189-year history, Dr. Wint has successfully transformed the organization to make science relevant and accessible for all those who visit or connect to The Franklin Institute. Under his vision and guidance, and as a result of his commitment to forward thinking and long-range planning, the Institute has raised its profile significantly in recent years, both nationally and internationally.
In 1996, under Wint's leadership, The Franklin Institute adopted the first in a series of strategic plans that would outline ambitious goals for the organization. These included the launch of new educational programs for hard-to-reach populations and the refurbishment of core exhibits in the Institute's 1934 museum building, such as the beloved Giant Heart. As a result of methodical planning and ambitious goal-setting that supported two major capital campaigns, the Institute has invested almost $130 million to improve the visitor experience through the renovation of exhibits, theaters, and public spaces, as well as in breaking ground on the future Nicholas and Athena Karabots Pavilion, a 53,000 square foot expansion project, the first for the Institute in more than 25 years.
Deeply invested in the mission to inspire a passion for learning about science and technology, Wint embarked on a number of highly collaborative outreach programs to encourage informal science learning beyond the walls of the museum. A partnership with the School District of Philadelphia to open the Science Leadership Academy (SLA), a nationally-recognized magnet high school, and the launch of the annual Philadelphia Science Festival, which has generated hundreds of new partnerships, are just two examples. The Philadelphia Science Festival reached nearly 300,000 participants in its first three years, and stands as a national model for festivals of its kinds. Positioning the Institute as a convener of effective organizations throughout the region is a hallmark of Wint's programmatic vision.
"Dennis Wint has been the face of science learning for The Franklin Institute and has inspired the staff, the board, and me personally for two decades," board chairwoman Marsha Perelman said in a statement yesterday. "His contributions and legacy will endure for generations to come and his vision, sound fiscal management, and ability to develop effective and beneficial collaborations have quite literally transformed the future of the Institute and its capacity to impact and inspire tomorrow's leaders."
Beginning in 2004, Wint successfully led the Institute in hosting world-class traveling exhibitions including "Titanic," "Body Worlds" and "King Tut." Today, the Institute is considered a prime destination for significant international science exhibitions, including world premieres. Wint's successful campaign to secure the Galileo telescope for a one-time-only exhibition resulted in the 2009 exclusive world premiere of "Galileo the Medici and the Age of Astronomy," followed by the 2010 world premiere of "Cleopatra: The Search for the Last Queen of Egypt".
"The Franklin Institute's prominent position as a leading educational and cultural resource in the region is due in large part to the vision laid out by Dennis during his tenure and his dedication to translating that vision into reality," said Institute Vice-Chair Don Morel, Chairman and CEO of West Pharmaceutical Services. "Dennis raised the bar, transforming a staid, conservative institution to an innovative forward thinking model focused on science education and the ever increasing importance of technology in economic development and our everyday lives."
In 2013, the Institute adopted its newest five-year strategic plan, which once again establishes an ambitious direction for the organization. In addition to overseeing the completion of the first, and launching the second of this new plan's three phases, Wint has a number of priority initiatives to complete prior to the conclusion of his tenure. These include facilitating the transition of the chair of the Institute's Board of Trustees, as longtime Chair Marsha Perelman concludes her term at the end of 2013, and the successful opening of the new Nicholas and Athena Karabots Pavilion, which will include an education center and 10,000 square foot exhibition on the human brain.
Dennis Wint has been honored with numerous awards throughout his ongoing tenure at The Franklin Institute. In 2008, Wint accepted the National Medal in a White House Ceremony—a coveted award from the Institute of Museums and Library Services—for the outstanding contributions The Franklin Institute has made to its community. The Franklin Institute was one of only five museums to receive the award, the nation's highest honor for museums. Also in 2008, Dr. Wint accepted the ASTC Fellow Award for outstanding contribution, the Association of Science-Technology Center's highest honor. More recently, The Franklin Institute was one of six museums featured in the 2013 book Magnetic: The Art and Science of Engagement (Bergeron and Tuttle. The AAM Press.) His professional and civic leadership also includes service as chair of the board of the Association of Science-Technology Centers, vice-chair of the American Alliance of Museums, and membership on the boards of the Association of Science Museum Directors, the National Health Sciences Consortium, and the Greater Philadelphia Cultural Alliance. He is also the chair of the boards of the Parkway Council and The Nature Conservancy/Pennsylvania Chapter. Wint is a longtime member of The Union League of Philadelphia.
Beginning this fall, Wint will serve as a part-time member of the faculty at Drexel University, where he will help to guide its new graduate program in museum leadership, which the University has launched following the merger with the historic Academy of Natural Sciences. In 2015, he will assume a full-time position at Drexel as a professor.
Under the leadership of Board Chair Marsha Perelman and Trustees Renee Booth and Don Callaghan, The Franklin Institute Board of Trustees has formed a committee to undertake a search for Dr. Wint's replacement.
About The Franklin Institute
Located in the heart of Philadelphia, The Franklin Institute is a renowned and innovative leader in the field of science and technology learning, as well as a dynamic center of activity. Pennsylvania's most visited museum, it is dedicated to creating a passion for learning about science by offering access to hands-on science education. For more information, visit www.fi.edu.
SOURCE The Franklin Institute