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Chris Ronayne to Step Down as President of University Circle Inc.

Posted August 31, 2021 in Press Releases

Aug. 31, 2021 (Cleveland, OH) – Chris Ronayne, who has led University Circle Inc. (UCI) as President since 2005, is stepping down from the position on Oct. 1 as he prepares to run for Cuyahoga County Executive.

“It has been an honor and a privilege to lead University Circle Inc. for 16 years,” stated Chris Ronayne. “When I began at UCI we envisioned a neighborhood without borders that welcomed visitors from near and far, that engaged students from around the world and from neighborhoods next door, and a place with amazing public spaces, events, small businesses and new housing opportunities. I am thrilled with the progress my team and I have made during my time here.”

“Chris has done a fantastic job leading UCI the past 16 years,” said Craig Martahus, President of the UCI Board of Trustees. “During his tenure, University Circle has thrived and he deserves a great deal of credit for the many new projects and initiatives that have come to fruition in the Circle. The Board and team at UCI are very grateful for Chris’ dedication and commitment to UCI’s mission. We look forward to building off our success and momentum as we continue to fulfill our mission to build a community experience that connects all people with Cleveland’s center of culture, healing and learning.”

Ronayne joined UCI after serving as Planning Director, Chief Development Officer and Chief of Staff at the City of Cleveland. At UCI Ronayne managed the day-to-day operations of the community service corporation managing its development, service, safety, and advocacy efforts. He is a recipient of the Medical Mutual Smart Business Pillar Award for Executive Director of the Year and the Walter F. Ehrnfelt, Jr. Award for Outstanding Regional Contribution from the Northeast Ohio Areawide Coordinating Agency (NOACA). During his tenure, UCI engaged with 15,000+ students each year through education programs and launched the new YAY! Saturdays arts and education summer series and Circle Scholars, an after-school program for 7th and 8th graders in nearby neighborhoods; completed a successful place management campaign that brought clean and safe ambassadors, new public art, and wayfinding maps and signage to the neighborhood; launched the NextStep business education program that has graduated 60 small businesses owners; created the uGO transportation management system to ease congestion and increase safety for residents, visitors, and workers; grew the WOW! Wade Oval Wednesdays summer concert series into a signature regional event with over 60,000 attendees each summer; partnered in the construction or renovation of more than 2,300 new housing units; oversaw over $3 billion in new construction and development throughout the neighborhood; and saw the district transform into a 24/7/365 active and vibrant community.

The UCI Board of Trustees will conduct a national search for the next leader of the organization and Geralyn Presti, President & CEO of The Music Settlement, will lead the search committee.

Gary Hanson, the former Executive Director of The Cleveland Orchestra, will serve as interim President beginning Oct. 4.

During Hanson’s 28-year tenure at The Cleveland Orchestra he worked closely with UCI and as the Orchestra’s chief executive, beginning in 2004, he was a member of UCI’s Board of Trustees and Executive Committee.

In 2016, following his retirement from the Orchestra, Mr. Hanson was called upon by the Cleveland Institute of Music, a UCI member institution, to serve as their Interim President. Subsequently, he returned part-time to his native country of Canada for a two-year engagement as the Interim CEO of the Toronto Symphony Orchestra.

About University Circle Inc.

University Circle Inc. (UCI) is the community service corporation responsible for developing, serving, and advocating for University Circle as a vibrant and complete neighborhood without borders.

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