Pamela Hoehn-Saric appointed chair of Smart Museum of Art’s Board of Governors

The University of Chicago has appointed Pamela Hoehn-Saric chair of the Smart Museum of Art’s Board of Governors, Provost Thomas F. Rosenbaum announced. Hoehn-Saric’s three-year term as chair began Oct. 30.

Hoehn-Saric, MAT’81, has served on the Smart Museum’s board since 2009, and succeeds outgoing chair Robert Feitler, Lab‘45. “I’m excited to take on this role,” said Hoehn-Saric. “The Smart Museum is in a great position, and I am confident we can continue to build support not only for its superb exhibitions and education programs, but also for new initiatives as the Smart looks ahead to its 40th anniversary in 2014 and beyond.”

During Feitler’s tenure as chair, the Smart Museum had many successes. It set attendance records in four of the past five years, highlighted by major projects including Feast: Radical Hospitality in Contemporary Art (2012) and Echoes of the Past: The Buddhist Cave Temples of Xiangtangshan (2010)—a multifaceted exhibition that met acclaim in Chicago before embarking on national tours. The Smart boosted support for its academic initiatives in 2011 with the establishment of a $1.75 million endowment from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation and matching gifts. A substantial landscaping project in 2008 revitalized the Smart’s sculpture garden.

“It has been an honor to have served as chair for the last several years,” said Feitler. “The Smart Museum does exciting and important work. It has been tremendously gratifying to be a part of it from the very beginning. I retire from the chairmanship knowing the Museum is on a solid path for further progress and success.”

In 2011, Feitler and his wife Joan, AM’55, were presented the University Medal—one of the highest honors that the University of Chicago can bestow—for their exceptional record of philanthropy and service at both the Smart and elsewhere on campus, including the Department of Art History, Court Theatre, the Divinity School and the University of Chicago Medicine.

Feitler’s relationship with UChicago dates to 1935, when he entered the Laboratory Schools. The Feitlers were instrumental in establishing the Smart Museum, which opened in 1974, in memory of Joan’s uncles, David and Alfred Smart. Bob is a trustee emeritus of the University and a life trustee of the University of Chicago Medicine.

“I am grateful to Bob for his selfless leadership, and I am delighted that Pam has accepted this appointment,” said Rosenbaum. “It is a privilege to know that we can count on such committed leadership during a period of great excitement for the arts at the University of Chicago and great promise and ambition at the Smart Museum.” 

“No one cares more deeply about the Smart than Bob does; all those who enjoy what we can offer are in his debt,” added Anthony Hirschel, the Dana Feitler Director of the Smart Museum. “I am greatly looking forward to working with Pam in her new role as our board chair. She has already demonstrated her passion for the work of the Smart, and her determination to ensure that it continues to flourish will serve the Museum and its board very well indeed in the years to come.”

Hoehn-Saric is a member of the executive committee and chair of the academic affairs committee of the Kenyon College board of trustees, and she serves on the board of the Kenyon Review. She completed a Master of Arts in Teaching (MAT) degree from the University of Chicago and was a teaching assistant at the University of Chicago Laboratory Schools. She taught at the elementary level and served as the training director at the law firm Piper & Marbury.

A resident of Gibson Island, Md., Hoehn-Saric has been served as chair of the Gibson Island Country School and the Severn School boards. She is currently on the board of Mercersburg Academy and the Gibson Island Corporation.

Hoehn-Saric is married to Christopher Hoehn-Saric, a co-founder and senior managing director of the private equity and venture capital firm Sterling Partners as well as a trustee at Johns Hopkins University. They have four children: Gabriella, Christopher, Robert and Michaella.