Former Colgate University president to head Newseum in DC

Staff Writer
Columbus Monthly

WASHINGTON (AP) — A former university president will be the next president and CEO of the Newseum, a museum about journalism and the First Amendment in Washington that has been struggling to cover its costs.

On Thursday, the Newseum named political scientist Jeffrey Herbst as its next chief executive. Herbst recently stepped down as president of Colgate University after five years at the Hamilton, New York, school. He will join the Newseum on Aug. 3.

Herbst is credited with leading Colgate's recent $480 million fundraising campaign, which he extended by $54 million above the initial goal.

The Newseum has struggled for years to raise enough funds to cover its costs since opening a new museum and conference center along Washington's Pennsylvania Avenue in 2008. Its exhibitions include stories and videos from history, Pulitzer Prize-winning photographs, the evolution of media, the freedoms covered by the First Amendment and a mangled broadcast antenna that was destroyed at the World Trade Center on 9/11. The museum also frequently hosts parties and film premieres.

Former CEO James Duff resigned in November after three years at the museum.

In the Newseum's search for a new leader, Herbst stood out for his leadership and fundraising skills among 300 candidates to lead the museum and its educational institute, according to a joint statement by Newseum Chairman Peter Prichard and Jan Neuharth, chairwoman and CEO of the Newseum parent organization the Freedom Forum.

"Jeffrey stood above all of the others because of his outstanding record of leading complex institutions and his deep experience in fundraising. And he shares a passion for our mission — to champion First Amendment freedoms and the right of free expression," Prichard and Neuharth said. "That's why he was our unanimous choice to help us achieve our ambitious goals over the next decade and beyond."

Herbst was previously a professor and executive vice president for academic affairs at Miami University in Ohio. He also was chairman of the politics department at Princeton University, where he studied as an undergraduate. He earned his graduate degrees at Yale University.

Herbst said the Newseum will play an important role in facilitating debates on some of the top issues of the day, ranging from religious liberty to changes in journalism.

"The Newseum is doing critical work to champion our core freedoms, and I look forward to helping write its next chapter," he said in a statement.

Newseum officials declined to release any details regarding how much Herbst will be paid. His predecessor's compensation struck some nonprofit experts as overly generous for an organization with annual budget deficits. Duff was to be paid $1.4 million in his first months on the job in deferred retirement funds.

The museum's financial outlook has improved over the past year, Newseum spokesman Jonathan Thompson said, though he would not reveal specific data. The museum has increased attendance and revenue while limiting expenses and has secured several donations, he said.




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