Our Board

Our trustees are flying forward.

Farsighted community leaders established Yerkes Future Foundation in 2018 to save Yerkes Observatory. Their goal was for Yerkes to become a civic asset in perpetuity. The Foundation successfully negotiated with the University of Chicago for the transfer of the Observatory. In May of 2020, YFF took ownership of the fifty acres and all buildings on site. Inspired by the Board’s steadfastness and guidance, our ever-growing leadership staff is dedicated to the mission of reawakening, restoring, and reimagining our beloved observatory.

Yerkes Future Foundation Board of Directors

Officers

Working in corporate finance for SC Johnson Company, Dianna became business manager for the Prairie School in Racine. She is retired and serves on various community boards. Dianna received her MBA from Harvard Business School.

“It’s the quiet moments that inspire me at the confluence of the spirit of what Yerkes was and the spirit of what it will become.”

Formerly with Bernstein Wealth Management, Tom held positions with Ernst & Young and IBM. He is retired and serves on various community boards. Tom received his BS from Drake University.

“I could spend an entire day sitting under the oaks by the pollinator meadow: Yerkes in the background, bluebirds visiting their houses, and the meadow humming with butterflies and bees.”

Currently vice president of finance at Chubb Insurance, Bill previously held finance leadership positions with Allstate and Aviva Insurance. He is involved with various community organizations, including Boy Scouts. Bill received his MBA from DePaul University.

“I could sit all night long in the Yerkes dome with the 24-inch telescope and gaze at galaxies, nebulae, and clusters. I’m really excited to start public viewing sessions with children so they can see the wonders of the universe in real life.”

A trial attorney, Frank serves on various community and educational institution boards in Illinois and Wisconsin. He received his JD from Loyola University.

“I am excited that the public (those who have been here and newcomers) will be able to see the Great Refractor at Yerkes in person. Pictures do not do justice to this magnificent piece of equipment. It stirs the imagination!”

Trustees

Previously, Chuck led communications for McDonald’s Corporation and served as an executive with Burson Marsteller agency. He is now retired and serves on various community boards. Chuck received his BA from Bradley University and studied at the Department of Defense Information School.

“Yerkes is again becoming a place of learning where those curious about the universe can share their aspirations and develop their contributions to science.”

Dana is a community volunteer and supporter, along with her family, of a variety of regional organizations. She is current or past trustee of the University of Chicago Cancer Research Foundation, Wilmette History Museum, and other organizations. Dana received her BA from University of Illinois.

“Every time I head down the driveway into the ellipse and enter the building, I always get a shiver. It’s a grabber which has yet to ebb for me considering all that has happened here and is still to happen.”

Kate is president and majority shareholder of BioLife4D, a biotechnology firm. She is the founder of Nottingham Associates, a strategic consulting firm in the pharma sector. Kate is also a community volunteer and serves on various boards. She received her BA from Ball State University.

“As a child going up on the shores of Geneva Lake, I have fond memories of visiting Yerkes Observatory every summer.  Walking up the front steps to enter the massive structure always made me think of all who traveled over those steps and their accomplishments in exploring our universe. Every time I enter the building to this day, I am in awe and filled with amazement.”

Joe is partner at Barnes & Thornburg. He was previously deputy chief for environmental enforcement for the Illinois Attorney General’s office and is a former criminal prosecutor. Joe serves as a community volunteer. He received his JD from Southern Methodist University.

“You can’t discover something new if you point your big scope at something you already know is there, but pointing a telescope down on Yerkes would be great because I know every day will bring new discoveries.”

Peter is currently partner, at Water Street Healthcare Partners, a private equity firm based in Chicago. He serves on numerous corporate boards primarily in pharmaceuticals, as well as on various community and educational boards. Peter received his BA from Harvard University.

“My favorite astronomer ever to study at Yerkes is Edwin Hubble. His time as a graduate student here meaningfully contributed to his underlying motivation and determination to explore and believe leading to his remarkable footprint of accomplishments. Yerkes can continue to impact the next generation of leaders in astronomy, science, and the arts inspiring all of us to Think Big.”

Robin was an original member and president of Village Treasure House, a nonprofit she has been dedicated to for the past twenty-five years. She has led and served on an array of community-engaged boards including Grant Hospital of Chicago, Lyon and Pleasant Ridge School PTAs, and Glenbrook South’s Booster Club. Robin received a BA in Art from Carthage College.

“Whether inside, on the grounds, or on the decorative exterior of the observatory, it’s impossible not to find something new and unique every time I visit Yerkes. One of the most iconic places I’ve experienced, Yerkes is undeniably rooted in discovery and it’s only going to get better. Stay tuned!”

Jeff is the CFO at Precision Plus. He is on the boards of Lake Geneva Yacht Club and Supply Chain Equity Partners. He was Principal with William Blair & Company and an Instructor of Practice at Marquette University. He holds a BA from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee and an MBA from Marquette.

“Carl Sagan wrote, “Somewhere, something incredible is waiting to be known.” Albert Einstein wrote, “Intellectual growth should commence at birth and ease only at death.” These thoughts speak to the inspiration I feel in helping to perpetuate Yerkes Observatory’s scientific, architectural, horticultural, and artistic missions for future generations of curious minds.”

Mary was the Executive Director of Healthcare for Oracle Corporation, CEO of Kairos Group, and Senior Manager of Healthcare Consulting for Arthur Andersen. In 2022, she refocused on service. She is a hospice nurse for Vitas Healthcare and a volunteer at Lake Geneva Food Pantry. Mary has an MBA from Northwestern University’s J.L. Kellogg Graduate School of Management.

“As a child fishing with my dad on the lake, I would stare up at the Dome and wonder what that magnificent telescope might be seeing and discovering. Carl Sagan’s show Cosmos continued my fascination with the billions of stars and galaxies. He stated, “The cosmos is within us. We are made of star stuff. We are a way for the universe to know itself.” I am honored and excited to be a small part of realizing Yerkes mission of science and the arts for the next little girl with her dad so she can discover she, too, is star stuff.”

Aimee was a teacher and school administrator for over twenty years. She currently serves on various educational institution and community boards in Illinois and Wisconsin. She received her BS from Butler University and her MAEd from DePaul University and MSEd from Northern Illinois University.

“As a child spending summers in Lake Geneva, I often looked from the lake for the giant dome peeking over the treetops.  The view gave me peace. Yerkes was a reliable fixture there to greet me. It always amazed my dad, too. When he would talk about the history and importance of Yerkes, he’d also mention how the building was essentially off limits to the public. I’m thrilled that it is now a place open for anyone who has an interest in science, astronomy, architecture, horticulture, and the arts. It is a place where all are welcome to visit and learn. I am amazed to learn something new every time I enter and I hope people will come to learn and experience something new and amazing for themselves.”

Ex officio

Dennis is responsible for the leadership and fundraising for Yerkes Future Foundation and the restoration and relaunch of Yerkes Observatory. He previously led science museums, contemporary art centers, and sculpture parks around the United States. He started his career leading exhibit design at the Metropolitan Museum of Art and the Smithsonian. Dennis is a proud graduate of the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee and New York University. He lives in Milwaukee with his wife Kelly and a mixed family of five kids, ages 5 to 16.

“It is so exciting to be creating something that doesn’t yet exist anywhere in the world: a center for science and big ideas bringing researchers, artists, writers, poets, photographers, astronomers, and composers together to help us understand the universe and our own place in it. We hope to create a beacon for future generations of scientists to be inspired by. Coolest. Job. Ever.”