THE longest-tenured president in the Franklin Institute's nearly 200-year history will step down at the end of next year, the institute announced yesterday.
At the end of his run, on Dec. 31, 2014, Dennis M. Wint will have served as president and chief executive officer of the institute - the most-visited museum in the state - for about two decades.
During his time as head of the institute, one of Wint's main focuses was better educating city youth and cultivating an interest in science and technology to prepare them for jobs in related fields.
"Our population . . . does not reflect what we know - that the region's present and future depend on education in science, technology, engineering, and math," Wint wrote in an April 2011 Inquirer op-ed column. "My organization . . . is striving to confront this problem. The challenge is to build excitement about science, improve science understanding in the city, and resolve the contradiction between our industries and our populace."
To that end, Wint that year collaborated with other city organizations to hold the first Philadelphia Science Festival, which, according to the institute, has had nearly 300,000 participants since its inception and "stands as a national model for festivals of its kind."
Under Wint's leadership, the institute also partnered with the school district to open Center City's Science Leadership Academy, a magnet high school, in 2006.
The 53,000-square-foot Karabots Pavilion will open in June.
After Wint finishes his term, he plans to join Drexel University's faculty as a full-time professor - a position that he's starting part time this fall - helping to develop a graduate program in museum leadership at the school.
Not every decision made on Wint's watch has been popular. In a 2008 marketing campaign, the institute changed its name to "The Franklin," a move that caused so much confusion that the original name was restored a year later.
"It's a beloved name, and we welcome it back," Meryl Levitz, head of the Greater Philadelphia Tourism Marketing Corp., said in June 2009 after it returned to its original name.