Philadelphia, PA — The Board of Councilors of the Historical Society of Pennsylvania (HSP) is pleased to announce that Dr. Charles T. Cullen has been appointed Interim President & CEO, effective August 1, 2016.
Dr. Cullen’s appointment was the result of a national search. With more than 40 years of experience as a president, librarian, and historical editor, Dr. Cullen was the clear choice for the position. He brings with him a deep understanding of and commitment to the mission of special collection libraries, having served in the role of President and Librarian of The Newberry Library from 1986-2005.
Commenting on his appointment, Dr. Cullen said: “Having been familiar with HSP since graduate school and having been connected to it as a sister library of the Newberry, I was drawn to the interim position by the challenge of helping launch a new strategic plan that seeks to reposition this venerable institution in such a way that will promote the effective use of its collections and the relevance of history at this important time for our nation.”
Two years ago, HSP embarked on a strategic planning process, funded by the William Penn Foundation and assisted by TDC consultants from Boston. The plan was approved by HSP’s Board of Councilors earlier this summer, and the institution will shortly embark on a transformation to match its re-imagined strategic vision. Dr. Cullen will help lead this charge.
“During the coming months we will begin to implement several new programs based on particular strengths in HSP’s collection of over 21 million items, doing that in such a way as to engage an international public,” Dr. Cullen continued. “As this phase nears completion, HSP’s Board of Councilors will fine tune its needs and identify the special qualifications it requires in a President & CEO, whereupon it will initiate a search for a permanent president.”
Dr. Cullen is succeeding Dr. Page Talbott. Having been an integral part of the strategic planning process and having led HSP during this transition, Dr. Talbott stepped down from her position of President & CEO of HSP in order to resume her exhibition and interpretive planning consulting business, Talbott Exhibits and Planning. Talbott served HSP for nearly twenty years as a board member and, then, as President and CEO since 2013.
Dr. Cullen holds an A.B. from the University of the South (Sewanee), an M.A. from Florida State University, and a Ph.D. from the University of Virginia. Before going to the Newberry, Dr. Cullen served as Editor of the Papers of Thomas Jefferson at Princeton University, as well as Editor of the Papers of John Marshall at the Institute of Early American History and Culture, where he also taught at the College of William and Mary.
HSP’s Board of Councilors agrees that Dr. Cullen is a proven leader with the experience and enthusiasm to lead HSP during its strategic transformation. “We are very fortunate that Dr. Cullen has agreed to serve as interim president,” said Bruce K. Fenton, Chairman of HSP’s Board of Councilors. “He is a proven leader and strategic planner and understands our history and our goals. He brings enthusiasm and experience during this transitional period.”