Frank Brooks Robinson: A New Chairman of the Board

By Ellen S. Wilson

Frank Brooks Robinson has long been familiar with the history and traditions of Carnegie Institute. A life member of the Board of Trustees, and the immediate past chairman of the Carnegie Museum of Natural History Board, Robinson is the new chairman of the board of Carnegie Institute and brings with him an understanding and experience that will serve the organization well as it begins its second century. Robinson was elected in May to serve a three-year term upon the retirement from chairmanship of Konrad M. Weis.

"Stepping into Konrad's shoes is a challenge," Robinson says of his new role. "The successful completion of the Second Century Fund, the opening of the Andy Warhol Museum, and the Science Center's spectacular attendance records are just three of the accomplishments that mark his tenure."

Weis was chairman from 1992 until 1996, bridging the gap between the presidencies of Robert C. Wilburn, who left in 1992, and Ellsworth H. Brown, who arrived in the spring of 1993. He will continue to be an active member of the board.

"Konrad was in fact the first chairman of the board," explains Brown. "He had to invent the position, and he has been immensely successful at that. His powerful logic and openness to ideas made him a tremendous leader during a time of great change and growth at the Institute."

"As we continue to implement the recommendations from last fall's strategic planning project with McKinsey & Company, Inc., the role of the Board of Trustees is engaging in the same philosophical shift that the institution as a whole is following. Brooks will be able to continue this initiative, developing the board to keep pace with the changing demographics of the population we serve," Brown says.

"I'm eager to become as familiar with all the aspects of the Institute as I have become with the Museum of Natural History," says Robinson, who was first appointed to the museum's board in 1989 and elected its chairman in 1991. Those seven years included the opening of two major halls, The Walton Hall of Ancient Egypt in 1990 and the Hall of African Wildlife in 1993, physical renovations to the building, and the behind-the-scenes business of the museum, fieldwork.

"He's been a superb chairman," says Jim King, director of the Carnegie Museum of Natural History. "He really follows through on ideas and makes things happen. He has been a partner for me and for the staff as a whole, understanding the issues we have to deal with and the competition for visitors' leisure time. He recognizes the diversity and complexity of this museum, and I'm delighted that he has moved up to chair the Institute Board of Trustees."

Robinson, president of the Regional Industrial Development Corporation of Southwestern Pennsylvania, is a registered architect and a lifelong Pittsburgher. He graduated from Yale University in 1954 and received his Bachelor of Architecture degree in 1960 from Carnegie Mellon University. He serves on several local and regional non-profit boards, including the Pittsburgh High Technology Council, the Pittsburgh Symphony Society, and Phipps Conservatory, and is a trustee of the Carnegie Hero Fund Commission. An amateur naturalist, he takes regular fishing trips with his sons and sons-in-law. His wife, Jean Robinson, serves on the boards of The Buhl Foundation and the Western Pennsylvania Conservancy. They live in Squirrel Hill.

"I'm greatly honored to serve one of the region's oldest and proudest cultural institutions," Robinson says. "The Carnegie Museums of Pittsburgh have been enriching the citizens of this city, the southwestern Pennsylvania region, and beyond for a century. Playing a role in that process will be a great achievement for me personally and I appreciate the confidence the board has placed in me. And I have great confidence in the staff here as well. I hope to ensure that the staff and the trustees continue working together and maintaining the unity of vision and effort so vital to this great enterprise."

New Life Trustees Named

Three new life trustees have been named to the Board of Carnegie Institute. Juliet Lea H. Simonds has been actively involved in the Carnegie Museums of Pittsburgh for years, serving on the Institute's Executive Committee, the Development Committee, the Museum of Art Board and as the chair of the Andy Warhol Museum Board. She also served on the Andy Warhol Museum Director Search Committee and is an advisory member of the Women's Committee of the Museum of Art.

Martin G. McGuinn, vice chairman of Retail Financial Services of Mellon Bank Corporation, is also chairman of the Development Committee, and serves on the Executive Committee and the Museum of Art Board. He sits on the Greater Pittsburgh Advisory Board of the Salvation Army and the World Affairs Council of Pittsburgh, among other organizations.

Janie Thompson has been a term trustee and also serves on the Museum of Art Board. She chairs the Centennial Celebration of the Carnegie Museums and Library of Pittsburgh, and is a member of the Women's Committee of the Museum of Art and the Steering and Resource Committee of the Science Center.

Two term trustees are joining the Institute Board as well. Michael S. Graff is a principal in the Pittsburgh office of McKinsey & Company, Inc., the organization that worked with the Institute in last fall's strategic planning project. Milton A. Washington, chairman of SSM Industries, Inc., is the current chairman of the board of Minority Enterprise Corp. and serves on the boards of other local organizations, including the Greater Pittsburgh Chamber of Commerce and United Way of Allegheny County.

Cecile M. Springer has been named a life trustee of Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh, and in that capacity also serves on the Board of Trustees of Carnegie Institute. The president of Springer Associates, a consulting organization that specialized in corporate and philanthropic programs and institutional development, she has served on the Board of Trustees of Carlow College, and is a current board member of City Theatre and the Historical Society of Western Pennsylvania, as well as other organizations.

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