Franklin Institute's longtime leader to step down
The Franklin Institute announced Wednesday that its president and chief executive officer, Dennis M. Wint, will step down at the end of next year after two decades on the job.
Wint, 70, the longest-serving president in the history of the 189-year-old institute, presided over two major capital campaigns that raised close to $130 million for the unveiling of new exhibits and the renovation of old favorites.
He was heavily involved in the creation of the city's annual science festival - held for the third time in April, with 110 events spanning 11 days. His tenure also saw the start of the Science Leadership Academy, a magnet high school that resulted from a partnership with the School District.
Even as he continues his work at the institute, Wint is joining the faculty of Drexel University this fall on a part-time basis, as part of a new graduate program in museum leadership. He will teach there full-time starting in 2015.
In an interview, Wint said he did not originally anticipate staying for so long at the science museum, housed in the familiar columned structure near the Benjamin Franklin Parkway.
"We were doing so much that it was just a matter of continuing," he said. "I love getting up every morning and coming to work."
Among the major exhibits that he helped bring to the museum were "Titanic," "Body Worlds," and "King Tut," along with the exclusive showing of Galileo's telescope.
A big item remaining on his agenda is overseeing the completion of the Nicholas and Athena Karabots Pavilion, a 53,000-square-foot expansion that is scheduled to open in June. It features a new exhibit on the human brain, a climate-controlled gallery for special exhibitions, and an education center with classrooms and conference space.
In a statement released by the museum, board chair Marsha Perelman praised Wint's accomplishments.
"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," Perelman said.
Born in Macon, Ga., Wint studied wildlife management as an undergraduate at the University of Michigan. He earned a doctorate in curriculum and instruction from Case Western Reserve University, focusing on science education.
He came to Philadelphia in 1977, working until 1982 as an executive at the Academy of Natural Sciences.
He then worked at the Cranbrook Institute of Science in Bloomfield Hills, Mich., and the St. Louis Science Center before coming to the Franklin Institute in February 1995.
Wint and his wife, Ann Meredith, live in Wyndmoor.
The institute has formed a committee to search for his replacement.
Contact Tom Avril at 215-854-2430 or email@example.com