At the June meeting of the Board of Trustees, two long-serving members retired. Wesley Park, who joined the Board in 1981, was elected Emeritus Trustee. Sam Cooke, the great-grandson of the museum’s founder Anna Rice Cooke, joined the board in 1969. Sam served as Chair from 1975 to 1981 and then, remarkably, again from 1997 to 2007. He was elected Honorary Chair Emeritus for Life by the board. (See more on Sam Cooke.)
Transitions such as these are a time to reflect, and I think about how both men served with distinction and grace, ensuring for a generation that the museum was stewarded for the public trust. Sam and Wesley were two members of an extraordinary group of 35 individuals who comprise the Board of Trustees. I will miss these two community leaders, but I am also comforted by the fact that many talented, dedicated people will continue to move our mission forward.
Thinking about what Sam and Wes accomplished at the museum also led me to reflect on why our museum is thriving today. The combination of great art, effective education programs and an engaged public is what makes it all work. A clear example of great art is our current exhibition Auguste Rodin: The Human Experience: Selections from the Iris & B. Gerald Cantor Collections, which includes his iconic The Thinker. It is a sculpture that should make us stop and think about what we are doing, why we are doing it and perhaps encourage all of us to be just a little more thoughtful in our own lives.
The museum is now on sound financial footing—we ended another fiscal year in the black. I have posted on our website our full audit report if you would like to know the details. Thanks to you, our board, and our very capable staff we are doing very well.