The National Czech & Slovak Museum & Library, based in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, named a new president and CEO today.
Cecilia Rokusek will succeed Gail Naughton, who retired earlier this summer after 16 years of leading the renowned museum.
Related: Gail Naughton’s Memorial Day remarks
See other Czech news in Iowa, here, and learn more about today’s announcement, Thursday, July 19, 2018, from the museum:
CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa — The Board of Trustees of the National Czech & Slovak Museum & Library (NCSML) has selected Dr. Cecilia Rokusek to be the museum’s next President and CEO. Currently the Provost and Chief Executive Officer at Larkin University in Miami, Florida, Rokusek will begin at the NCSML on Sept. 1. She will succeed Gail Naughton, who has served in the role since 2002.
Rokusek, a native Midwesterner who is fluent in the Czech and Slovak languages, has held top academic and administrative positions at several colleges and universities since 1976. For the past 10 years she has been the Slovak Honorary Consul for Florida, and during her career she has established many academic affiliations with institutions in the Czech and Slovak Republics, in several other European countries and in South Korea.
“We are fortunate and gratified that someone of Dr. Rokusek’s professional stature, and with her breadth and depth of experience, was available for this extraordinary opportunity at the National Czech and Slovak Museum and Library,” said George Drost, chair of the NCSML board of trustees. “She will be able to build on a very solid foundation of leadership here, and she has the vision to take this national organization into its next exciting stages.”
Before her current post at Larkin University, Rokusek was at Nova Southeastern University’s College of Osteopathic Medicine for 10 years, serving as Assistant Dean for Research and Innovation. Before that she was a dean and professor at Winona State University in Minnesota, Florida Gulf Coast University and Governors State University in Illinois. She served as Assistant Vice President for Academic Affairs at the University of South Dakota School of Medicine and Director of Dietetics at Mount Marty College in South Dakota. She holds a doctor of education degree from the University of South Dakota, a master of science degree from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln and a bachelor of arts degree from Mount Marty College.
“I am both honored and pleased to serve as the President and CEO of the National Czech and Slovak Museum and Library, a true cultural gem for our region, nation and international communities,” Rokusek said. “Cedar Rapids is a cultural epicenter, and I am especially looking forward to becoming an active member of the community. I am delighted to be joining the dedicated team of professionals, volunteers and board members of the NCSML as we work together to promote, develop and expand the museum and library.
“As a fourth- generation Czechoslovak, I am especially proud of my ancestral heritage. Growing up in Tabor, South Dakota, graduating from the University of Nebraska and working in both Minnesota and Illinois, I am delighted to be coming home to the Midwest,” she added.
Through her executive positions in higher education, Rokusek has gained considerable experience in fundraising at the local, state, national and international levels. She also has been an international education consultant, providing counsel on education initiatives in higher education related to primary care, inter-professional practice and leadership, and elder care including dementia and Alzheimer’s Disease. She also has been involved in policy-making related to funding for geriatric care.
“The search committee was immediately impressed with Cecilia’s application, and this impression was magnified when we had the opportunity to talk with her at length about her passions and skills and the museum’s direction and future,” said NCSML board of trustees member Tom DeBoom, who chaired the search committee. “It’s a tremendous match. We especially value her experience in strategic planning and implementation, which will be crucial for us moving forward.”
The search process was facilitated by Arts Consulting Group (ACG), a national provider of executive search and other services for the arts and culture industry. “ACG congratulates the many stakeholders involved in the search process who will benefit from Cecilia’s expertise and passion for Czech and Slovak culture,” said ACG Associate Vice President Peter Mraz.