Last Updated: 5:59 am
| Friday, June 22, 2007
Freedom Center losing 2 execs
Crew, Collins take jobs in Va., S.C.
BY PEGGY O'FARRELL |POFARRELL@ENQUIRER.COM
Officials at the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center haven't decided how to replace two of themuseum's highest-paid executives whose departures were announced Thursday.Spencer Crew, president of the riverfront museum, and Love Collins III, executive vice president of advancement,are leaving Cincinnati for new jobs.Crew accepted an endowed faculty position at George Mason University in Virginia. His new job starts in January,said Paul Bernish, a spokesman for the center, but Crew's last day at the Freedom Center hasn't been set.Collins will leave the museum at the end of June for a fundraising and development job at Benedict College inSouth Carolina, Bernish said.The two men's salaries - about $500,000 combined - raised eyebrows in the community as the museum struggledfinancially.Bernish said their expertise and professional standing justified their high salaries.Crew "was appointed when the Freedom Center was still a vision. We had not turned a single shovel of dirt whenhe was hired," Bernish said. "We knew based on our research that this was going to be a unique institution, andwe felt we needed someone with a thorough grounding in American history, particularly the history of slavery inAmerica, and Dr. Crew is eminently qualified."We felt his salary was justified at the time, and in retrospect, we still feel it was a justified decision. He directedthis place through its most crucial period, the opening."Crew came to the center from the Smithsonian Institution.Crew said he is excited to return to the academic arena. In opening the Freedom Center, he said, his goal was to"create a special institution that would cause people to think about their role in the world in a different way. Wewanted to give visitors a very powerful, touching and thought-provoking experience, and I think we've achievedthat."Collins joined the center in March 2005. He had been a vice president of development at Florida A&M Universityin Tallahassee.The Freedom Center lost $5.5 million in its first 18 months of operation and had to lay off employees.Bernish noted that the center has trimmed its budget from $12 million to $8 million over three years, with $2million in cuts coming last year.This month, Cincinnati City Council gave the center $800,000 as part of a $3.8 million arts funding package.Center managers planned to use the money to help pay off $25 million in debt remaining from the $110 million
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