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Academy of Natural Sciences Names Pennsylvania Business Leader as New President

The Academy of Natural Sciences today announced that it has named George W. Gephart, Jr., a highly respected Philadelphia-area business and nonprofit leader, as its new president and chief executive officer. Gephart will assume his new position on Aug. 9.

Gephart, 57, of Newtown Square, Delaware County, brings nearly 30 years of demonstrated business, finance and nonprofit leadership experience to the Academy, just as the historic institution is poised to begin planning for its bicentennial.

Founded in 1812, the Academy is the oldest natural history museum in the Americas, a world leader in biodiversity and environmental research, and a cultural institution long known to generations of Philadelphians.

Gephart is chairman of the governing board of Main Line Health System, an integrated health care system located in suburban Philadelphia and one of the preeminent health systems in southeastern Pennsylvania. Main Line Health includes six acute care and specialty facilities: Bryn Mawr Hospital, Lankenau Hospital, Paoli Hospital, Riddle Hospital, Bryn Mawr Rehabilitation Hospital, and Mirmont Treatment Center. One of the region’s largest employers, Main Line Health is a constituent member of the Jefferson Health System, on whose board Gephart serves.

Gephart’s appointment to the Academy was enthusiastically approved by the museum’s Board of Trustees at their meeting Tuesday afternoon, following a national search conducted by the executive search firm Spencer Stuart. He replaces William Y. Brown, who resigned in January to accept the CEO position at Woods Hole Research Center in Falmouth, Mass.

“We are very excited to welcome Mr. Gephart to this wonderful institution at such a momentous time in our history,” said Board Chairman and Search Committee Task Force Chair James Macaleer. “We look forward to his leadership and his vision as we seek to position the Academy locally, regionally and nationally in anticipation of our 200th anniversary.

“With his strong financial and management background, George has proven himself to be a highly effective leader with extensive expertise in nonprofit governance,” Macaleer said. “His deep roots in the Philadelphia area are most important to us as well. While the Academy of Natural Sciences conducts research around the world, we are deeply committed to Philadelphia and to our local community.
“In fact,” added Macaleer, “as the Academy launched its CEO search this winter, our task force identified governance experience, ideally in the greater Philadelphia region, as an important competency we wanted in our new CEO. We feel most fortunate to have George join the Academy as our new president and CEO.”

Gephart has more than 25 years of experience in the investment business and a long record of nonprofit service in the Philadelphia area. Starting in 1984, he worked for 20 years with 1838 Investment Advisors of Philadelphia, where he oversaw the company’s equity investment process, managed the portfolios of major nonprofit organizations and other clients, and, along the way, learned Dutch to enhance a business venture in Amsterdam. He was a senior managing director of the firm. His earlier career includes serving as a vice president at Scudder Stevens & Clark in New York from 1979 to 1984, and as a vice president at Equitable Trust Company of Baltimore from 1975 to 1977. In 2005 he founded George Gephart Interview Coaching of Stafford, Pa., which focused on coaching high school and college students on how to improve communication skills.

In addition to Main Line Health System, Gephart has served in leadership positions on many regional environmental, health care, and cultural governing boards, including The Curtis Institute of Music, The Nature Conservancy, Natural Lands Trust, Bryn Mawr Rehab Hospital, The Concerto Soloists Chamber Orchestra (now the Chamber Orchestra of Philadelphia) and White Williams Scholars. He earned a bachelor’s degree in English from Yale University and a master’s of business administration from The Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania. Gephart is an avid naturalist, birder and outdoorsman with a keen interest in the environment and the natural sciences.

“I am truly honored to have the opportunity to join the Academy of Natural Sciences, one of Philadelphia’s great institutions and a world leader in environmental and biological science,” Gephart said. “I look forward to working with the Academy’s dedicated scientists, administrative staff and board as we build upon the Academy’s existing strengths and expand its reach within our community and our region.”

Gephart’s wife, Elizabeth “Pooh” Gephart, is active in community service as well. She is the author of “Philadelphia with Children,” a guidebook of children’s attractions and events in the region. The former board chair of The Baldwin School and a board member of the Overbrook School for the Blind, she currently serves as the dean of students at Baldwin. The Gepharts are the parents of three grown daughters and have lived in Newtown Square since 1983.
The Academy of Natural Sciences has long drawn scientists and tourists to Philadelphia. Its world-class research focuses on biodiversity, evolution and the environment, with its discoveries shared with the public through innovative exhibits, publications and educational programming.

The Academy of Natural Sciences, founded in 1812, is the oldest natural science research institution and museum in the Americas and a world leader in biodiversity and environmental research. The mission of the Academy is the encouragement and cultivation of the sciences.

HOURS: Monday–Friday, 10 a.m.–4:30 p.m.; Saturday–Sunday, 10 a.m.–5 p.m. ADMISSION: $12 adults; $10 children 3-12, seniors, college students, and military personnel; from May 28–Sept. 6 military and up to 5 family members are free; free for members and children under 3. $2 fee for Butterflies!

Image: Exterior shot of The Academy of Natural Sciences credit: Will Klein

The Academy of Natural Sciences
1900 Benjamin Franklin Parkway
Philadelphia, PA 19103-1195
Phone: 215-299-1000

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