At the annual meeting of the Board of Trustees of the Philadelphia Museum of Art on Thursday, October 16, 1997, Raymond G. Perelman was elected to succeed Philip I. Berman as Chairman of the Board. Mr. Berman, who has served since 1989 and oversaw the successful conclusion of the Landmark Renewal Fund that raised over $64 million for the Museum, was named Chairman Emeritus and continues as a Trustee.
Mr. Perelman's new role caps nearly a quarter century of service to the Museum. A native of Philadelphia, he attended the University of Pennsylvania. After decades in the family business, the American Paper Products Company, he expanded his business interests to include Belmont Iron Works, and later the General Refractories Company. He has participated generously in a wide variety of local and national philanthropies, including the United Way, the American Technion Society, the Allied Jewish Appeal, Temple University Hospital, Albert Einstein Health Center, and the Holocaust Museum, Washington, D.C. Mr. Perelman has been a Trustee of the Philadelphia Museum of Art since 1975, a Vice-Chairman since 1992, and he was a major contributor to the Landmark Renewal Fund. His Trustee responsibilities have included service on the Budget Committee, and the Executive Committee. He and his wife Ruth, who are collectors of modern art with particular interest in Aristide Maillol, Pablo Picasso and Jean Dubuffet, are residents of Center City and active in many civic and community causes.
Dennis Alter, Chairman of Advanta Corporation and a Museum Trustee since 1992, was elected a Vice-Chairman of the Board of Trustees, joining fellow Vice-Chairs Mrs. Howard H. Lewis, John A. Nyheim and Mrs. John J.F. Sherrerd. Newly elected to the Board of Trustees were John G. "Jack" Drosdick, Dr. Niara Sudarkasa, and J. Roffe Wike, Jr.
Mr. Drosdick was born in Hazleton, Pennsylvania, and returned to the region to assume the position of President and Chief Operating Officer of the Sun Company in 1996. He attended Villanova University (where he later served as member of the President's Council and Trustee Fellow, and was recipient of the St. Thomas of Villanova Alumni Medal) and the University of Massachusetts at Amherst. Mr. Drosdick has been an executive in the oil business for most of his career, which has included positions with Exxon Corporation, Tosco Refining Company and Ultramar. He is a member of the Chairman's Cabinet of the Los Angeles Music Center. The Sun Company is a charter member of the Museum's Corporate Partners Program, which was established in 1981, and Sun was a major contributor to the Landmark Renewal Fund.
Since 1987, Dr. Sudarkasa has served as President of Lincoln University, the nation's oldest historically black college. She is the first woman to serve in that role. She was born in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, and educated at Fisk University and Oberlin College with a Ph.D. in anthropology from Columbia University. She is an internationally-respected scholar in the field of West African studies and has written more than 60 publications. Serving on many national and state boards, she is the current Chair of the Pennsylvania Association of Colleges and Universities, and President Clinton appointed her to the White House Commission on Presidential Scholars.
Mr. Wike is a native of Blair County, Pennsylvania, and a graduate of Princeton University with a Ph.D. from the University of Pennsylvania. He served as Assistant Professor at the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania, and then launched a career as an investment counselor. He served as Senior Partner and Director at the firm of Cooke & Bieler until 1994. With broad interests in education and the arts, he is active in the Curtis Institute of Music, and the Southwest Community Enrichment Center, in Philadelphia. Mr. Wike is a member of the European Painting and Sculpture Committee.
"This latest meeting of the Museum's Board of Trustees presented us with a number of wonderful opportunities. We were able to extend deepest thanks to Mr. Berman for the eight extraordinary years of enthusiastic and insightful leadership and support which he provided the Museum as Chairman of the Board since 1989. Mr. Berman's election as Chairman Emeritus expresses the Board's gratitude and admiration for his service. We look forward to Mr. Perelman's stewardship, salute Mr. Alter's active role in the Museum, and enthusiastically welcome three new Trustees to the Board," commented Ms. d'Harnoncourt.