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Board of Trustees

At the Adler, our vision is to connect people, communities, and institutions to one another through the wonder of space science so we can explore our universe together and use our collective knowledge and skills to create a better world for everyone.

Our museum is supported by governing leadership that demonstrates dedication to this vision, supports scientific research and exploration, and values our ongoing commitment to connecting people to the universe and each other.

The Adler Planetarium Board of Trustees is a diverse team of corporate, philanthropic, civic, and academic leaders who help the Adler fulfill its role as one of the world’s leading science education and space exploration institutions. As members of the museum’s governing body, Trustees set and oversee Adler plans and policies, serve as ambassadors to the larger community, secure support for programs, and are primary stewards of the Adler’s finances and museum collections.

A Message from President & CEO, Michelle B. Larson

At the Adler Planetarium, we create spaces where people of all backgrounds and abilities (and their questions!) are welcome. Our focus on developing personal connections, meeting people where they are, and making complex ideas understandable is core to our work of breaking down the barriers that keep people from participating in science.

When more people feel welcome in scientific spaces, we get to explore wonderful questions like “Why can’t I see the Milky Way from my neighborhood?”, “Where did that meteorite land?”, and “What’s that strange object I can see underneath that distant galaxy?” These questions have led Adler teens, scientists, staff, and volunteers to conduct studies and participate in community activism around light pollution, to find an invasive species (and some micrometeorites) at the bottom of Lake Michigan, and to discover the ghost remnant of a supermassive black hole.

None of this would be possible without the strong community we’re building together. I look forward to looking up with you soon!

Michelle B. Larson, PhD

Officers And Trustees


Kecia Steelman, Chair
Nancy S. Gerrie, Vice Chair
Aaron C. Rudberg, Vice Chair
Daniel T. Mueller, Secretary
Jonathan H. Herbst, Treasurer
Michelle B. Larson, PhD, President and CEO

Elected Trustees

Cynthia L. Ballew
Russell F. Bartmes
Raj Bhatia
Neil Book
Liam Caffrey
David A. Crown, PhD
Daniel R. Eder
John W. Estey
Lilly Farahnakian
Tacy Flint
Ryan Garino
Muhammad Gigani
William J. Gruber
Amelia Huntington
Seth E. Jacobson
Linda P. Jojo
Catherine Kenworthy
Peter J. Langas
Lisa H. Lewis
Steven S. Louis, MD
Betsy McKenna
Michael J. McMurray
Maryann N. McNally
James C. Murray
Randy Nornes
James J. O’Connor, Jr.
Jackson Pallas
Ian C. Radomski
Chris Rauch
Brad Serlin
Brooke Graydon Slade
Scott C. Swanson

Life Trustees

Linda I. Celesia
Donald C. Clark, Jr.
Frank M. Clark
Bryan C. Cressey
J. Douglas Donenfeld
Michel J. Feldman
David W. Fox, Sr.
Nancy Emrich Freeman
Howard S. Goss
Raj P. Gupta, PE
Captain James A. Lovell, Jr.
David Mintzer, PhD
Edward J. Williams

Ex-Officio Trustees

John E. Carlstrom, PhD
The University of Chicago

Rosa Escareño
Chicago Park District

Wendy L. Freedman, PhD
The University of Chicago

Michelle B. Larson, PhD
President and CEO, Adler Planetarium

Ashley Hemphill Netzky
Chicago Park District

Sean B. Reynolds
Northwestern University

Past Board Chairs

Linda P. Jojo, 2020–2023
Pradip K. Patiath, 2017–2020
Scott C. Swanson, 2014–2017
Joseph T. Lower, 2014
John W. Estey, 2011–2014
Bryan C. Cressey, 2008–2011
Frank M. Clark, 2005–2008
Donald C. Clark, Jr., 2002-2005
Howard S. Goss, 2000–2002
J. Douglas Donenfeld, 1991–2000
Jerry E. Dempsey, 1988–1991
Roderick S. Webster, 1985–1988
James J. Brice, 1981–1985
Kenneth Nebenzahl, 1978–1981
Harold Byron Smith, Jr., 1975–1978
Emory Williams, 1971–1975
Hermon Dunlap Smith, 1968–1971


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