A golden salute

Francis G. Ronnenberg, Janet T. Langsam. Courtesy ArtsWestchester

In WAG’s November “Passion for Work” issue, we and ArtsWestchester salute those hard workers who have accomplished much in their respective fields and yet have still found time to serve as president of the arts council’s board of directors – like current president Froma Benerofe.

In addition to past presidents still with us, ArtsWestchester wanted to pay tribute to those who’ve gone before. Below is CEO Janet T. Langsam’s fond memory of Francis G. Ronnenberg, who served as president from 1990 to ’92:

“Frank Ronnenberg was a burly, no-nonsense executive who deeply cherished the arts for their social values. With a touch of Irish charm, he offered me the opportunity to become executive director of the then-Council for the Arts in Westchester. I had been working in Boston as president and CEO of the Boston Center for the Arts. Frank was then a vice president of Reader’s Digest in charge of circulation of all RD publications worldwide. We hit it off right away. He knew his way around government and corporate circles and was forthright, with a “get the job done” attitude.

“The arts council, he told me, was in serious financial trouble. Cuts were needed. In his “old school,” gentlemanly manner, he offered to make the cuts before I started the job. His directness and authenticity were endearing to me as were his family ties to Mary Ellen and their four children. Frank was my mentor in Westchester.”

Here are the other past presidents of ArtsWestchester’s Board of Directors, deceased, and the dates of their tenures:

Polly Siwek (1969 -1973)

William J. Bridenbecker (1975-1976)

Katherine Niles (1977-1983)

Dorothy Swegel (1985-1987)

For more on ArtsWestchester, look for WAG’s “Passion for Work” issue, out Nov. 1. – Georgette Gouveia

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