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Winner returns to Cleveland as chief development officer of Museum of Natural History

sonia-winner1Sonia Winner, after serving as the vice president for university development at Columbia University, on Jan. 3 assumed the role of chief development officer with the Cleveland Museum of Natural History. She will lead the museum’s campaign and development efforts.

“We are so excited to have Sonia join our team to lead our campaign and development efforts. She is a creative and dynamic individual who brings knowledge, expertise, and a great passion for the museum and our mission,” Evalyn Gates, the executive director and CEO of the Cleveland Museum of Natural History, said.

Winner had been with Columbia University since 2011, initially as deputy vice president for development, professional schools and programs, before being promoted to her most recent role in 2014. During her tenure at Columbia, she led the school’s strategic effort to refocus and expand global fundraising activities and was part of the senior development team that raised more than $6.1 billion in a comprehensive campaign — one of the largest in higher education history.

Winner has extensive development experience in Cleveland; she spent eight years at Case Western Reserve University School of Law in several key positions, including associate dean for leadership outreach and strategic initiatives. In 2007 she was recruited to the Weatherhead School of Management at CWRU, serving as associate dean for external relations for more than four years before leaving to join Columbia University.

“The Cleveland Museum of Natural History is a treasured part of the University Circle cultural hub,” Winner said. “I can think of no higher honor than working to further philanthropic support for a remarkable institution, which invites all members of our community to explore the natural world and to understand the importance of conservation, science education, and scientific discovery.”

The Cleveland Museum of Natural History recently completed Phase I of its expansion and is currently planning for the rest of its $150 million development and renovation, due for completion in 2020, the institution’s centennial year. The museum seeks to transform its University Circle campus to better connect its visitors to science and nature and help them advocate for finding solutions to the emerging environmental and scientific issues of this century. The transformation of the museum will allow it to enhance its world-class scientific research and academic programs and continue to grow its reputation as a key resource on environmental issues, both local and global.

“I am excited to be back in Cleveland to do this important work for our region and to further its renaissance,” Winner said of the museum, which is considered  one of the top 10 natural history museums in the United States.

About the Cleveland Museum of Natural History: The Cleveland Museum of Natural History, incorporated in 1920, is one of the finest institutions of its kind in North America. It is noted for its collections, research, educational programs, and exhibits. The collections encompass more than 5 million artifacts and specimens, and research of global significance focuses on 10 natural science disciplines. The museum conserves biological diversity through the protection of more than 7,300 acres of natural areas. It promotes health education with local programs and distance learning that extends across the globe. Its GreenCityBlueLake Institute is a center of thought and practice for the design of green and sustainable cities.

  • Jan 10, 2017
  • CBC Magazine
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  • HIGH-RISERS, January 2017 (1)

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