The J. Paul Getty Trust Names Dr. Barry Munitz, Educator, College Administrator, and Business Leader, as Next President and Chief Executive Officer

California State University Chancellor to Assume Post at the Getty on January 5, 1998



Barry Munitz, Chancellor of the California State University, the largest system of senior higher education in the United States, has been appointed the next President and Chief Executive Officer of the J. Paul Getty Trust, a private operating foundation devoted to the visual arts and humanities. The announcement was made today by Robert F. Erburu, Chairman of the Getty's Board of Trustees, who also chaired the search committee. Dr. Munitz will assume his new post on January 5, 1998.

Dr. Munitz will succeed president Harold M. Williams, who has held the post since 1981 and has overseen the expansion of the Getty Trust and the creation and completion of the Getty Center. Mr. Williams announced last summer his intention to retire on January 5, 1998.

As President and CEO, Dr. Munitz will lead a group of organizations under the J. Paul Getty Trust umbrella: the J. Paul Getty Museum; the Getty Conservation Institute; the Getty Research Institute for the History of Art and the Humanities; the Getty Education Institute for the Arts; the Getty Information Institute; the Getty Leadership Institute of Museum Management; and the Getty Grant Program. The endowment of the J. Paul Getty Trust is $4.3 billion. The new Getty Center, set to open to the public on December 16, 1997, will unite on a single, six-building campus all the Getty organizations. Designed by Richard Meier & Partners, and visible from many parts of Los Angeles, the Getty Center features a new J. Paul Getty Museum, extensive gardens, a 450-seat auditorium, a cafe/restaurant, and other facilities for the public and for professionals in the visual arts and humanities. The Getty Center also houses a major research library and exhibition area of the Getty Research Institute, and state-of-the-art conservation facilities for the Getty Conservation Institute. It is expected to attract approximately 1.5 million visitors a year for a range of exhibitions, lectures, concerts, symposia and other cultural events.

In announcing the appointment, Mr. Erburu, former Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of The Times Mirror Company, commented, "Barry brings to the Getty a rare combination of academic leadership, business expertise, public service, and a passion for the arts and humanities and their importance to our society. His wide ranging perspective on scholarship, the arts, and information technology; proven talent for managing large and complex organizations; and his ability to communicate eloquently across disciplines and to the public and professionals alike, make him an ideal choice. Filling the shoes of Harold Williams will be a very tall order, but I speak for all the Trustees when I say that in Dr. Munitz we have found the vest person to lead the Getty into the 21st century."

Dr. Munitz has been described by colleagues in the academic and foundation worlds as an energetic, charismatic leader. Under his direction the California State University has flourished and achieved national recognition for its progress. The California State University system includes 23 campuses and six off- campus centers, servicing more than 325,000 students, employing 33,000 faculty and staff, and with an annual budget exceeding $4 billion. During Dr. Munitz's tenure as Chancellor, which began in 1991, new campuses have been established in Monterey -- on the site of the closed Fort Ord Military Base -- and in Ventura County.

"The Board has made an excellent choice," commented Harold M. Williams. "I have had the pleasure of working with Barry in a number of contexts both in the corporate world and in higher education, and I know him to be a creative leader, a visionary thinker, and a tireless advocate for the enrichment of the community. He is the leading spokesperson for higher education today, and he will, without a doubt, become a strong voice for the arts and humanities. His management experience in large institutions and his civic involvement in local, national and international organizations will serve the Getty well as it enters a new era with the opening of the Getty Center."

Born and raised in Brooklyn, New York, Dr. Munitz received a bachelors degree in classics and comparative literature from Brooklyn College before going on to earn a masters degree and Ph.D. from Princeton University. He began his academic career in 1966 at the University of California, Berkeley, as an assistant professor in the dramatic arts and literature department. From 1968 to 1970 he served under former University of California president Clark Kerr at the Carnegie Foundation Commission on Higher Education.

In 1970 Dr. Munitz accepted a position at the University of Illinois, where he served for six years, first as Associate Provost and later as Academic Vice President for the University of Illinois system. He became Vice President and Dean of Faculties at the University of Houston- Central Campus in 1976 and was made Chancellor of that university in 1977.

Dr. Munitz gained experience in the business world when he left the University of Houston in 1982 to become a senior executive at MAXXAM, Inc. in Houston. He remained at the company until he joined the California State University system in 1991.

In addition to his professional affiliations, Dr. Munitz has been a national leader in promoting educational excellence at all levels. Since 1992 he has served on numerous public and private boards. He was the chairman of the American Council on Education, the leading higher education group in America, and chair of the California Education Round Table. He also served on the Commission on National Investment in Higher Education, and the White House Commission "America Reads." He was recently named the White House appointee to an 11- person commission to study the costs of higher education in the U.S.

As a resident of the Los Angeles area, Dr. Munitz said, "It is a great honor to be given the opportunity by the Board to lead the Getty, a relatively young institution, into the next phase of its development following the extraordinary accomplishments of Harold Williams. I am very enthusiastic about the Getty's potential to make an even greater impact here in Los Angeles and around the world and to build new partnerships in the community. I'm looking forward most of all to working with people on staff at each of the Getty organizations, who bring to their work a unique range of expertise and passion for the arts and cultural heritage."

Read more about the Getty (J. Paul) Museum in the Resource Library


This page was originally published 8/5/97 in Resource Library Magazine. Please see Resource Library's Overview section for more information. rev. 11/28/11

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