Michelle B. Larson, Ph.D.
President and CEO
An accomplished astrophysicist with a passion for science education, Dr. Larson is the Adler's ninth leader. As president of America's first planetarium, Dr. Larson oversees a twenty-first century space science center that includes the institution's landmark museum complex, exhibition galleries, and three theaters; a robust research enterprise; one of the world's leading collections documenting the history of science; and an award-winning education and outreach program. Dr. Larson’s professional passion is enabling engagement and communication between scientists and the public. She grew up in Anchorage, Alaska, earned her undergraduate and graduate degrees in Physics from Montana State University, and did her doctoral work in neutron star astrophysics. It was during this time that she discovered astronomy as a vehicle to engage people in science.
Ginevra Stirling Ranney
Vice President for Institutional Advancement
Ms. Ranney leads the museum’s efforts to secure philanthropic support, working closely with the president and board of trustees. She has been a member of the development team at the Adler Planetarium since 1999 and has served in a variety of roles, including campaign director for the Adler’s $40 million Lift-Off! Capital Campaign, which ultimately raised $54 million. Most recently, Ms. Ranney was the associate vice president for development. She holds fifteen years of experience in fundraising including board development, capital campaigns, major and individual gifts, corporate and foundation relations, and event management. Before joining the Adler, Ms. Ranney was the assistant director of special gifts and the Grateful Patient Program at Northwestern Memorial Hospital. She graduated with honors from Kenyon College.
Janice R. Promer
Executive Vice President and COO
Ms. Promer joined the Adler in March 2010 as executive vice president and chief operating officer, after serving for six years as chief financial officer and vice president for finance at The Erikson Institute in Chicago. Both the Adler and Erikson are nonprofits that focus on academics, research, and education. Prior to Erikson, she spent 20 years at Amoco Corporation (now part of British Petroleum) in various roles, including corporate finance, commodity risk management, strategic planning and supply, and logistics operations and financial reporting. She has also served as controller / chief administrative officer at The Great Books Foundation and as chief financial officer and board member of Success Lab, Inc., both in Chicago. Ms. Promer holds a BA in chemistry from Northwestern University and an MBA from The Wharton School of The University of Pennsylvania.
Vice President of Visitor Experience
Ms. Cole comes to the Adler with over a decade of expertise in leadership, visitor experience, exhibitions, and project management. She has a successful history enriching the visitor experience by empowering programming and exhibition teams to transform ways audiences can connect to museums. Prior to joining the Adler, Ms. Cole served as the Director of Visitor Experience at the Carnegie Museum of Natural History in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, and multiple roles over the course of five years at The Children's Museum of Indianapolis. In her career, she has been responsible for the conception, development, management and delivery of dynamic visitor experiences that provided excellent customer service and strong content interpretation. Ms. Cole holds a BS in biology from Butler University and an MA in museum studies from Indiana University.
Vice President for Astronomy, Research and Collections
Dr. Gyuk is a member of the international VERITAS collaboration, which built and operates the world's most sensitive TeV gamma-ray observatory. As part of Adler's AVAST group, he also studies the composition of V-type (basaltic) asteroids, thought to be remnants of larger proto-planetary objects. Gyuk leads Adler's Far Horizons program, which is building a community of amateurs, students and volunteers who design, build, and operate space exploration missions.
Director of Citizen Science
The citizen science department at the Adler Planetarium is home to a development team who design and build Zooniverse websites - the worlds largest and most successful collection of citizen science projects. This team, who bring expertise in technology, education, science outreach and research, reach beyond the internet into the local community through school visits, youth programs and hack days events. As former astronomer, high school teacher, museum educator, and web developer, Dr. Whyte leads these initiatives and the opportunity they bring to engage a wider Chicago audience in actively doing science.