Morton Arboretum Announces Jill C. Koski as Next CEO and President

Headshot of new Morton Arboretum CEO Jill Koski
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The Morton Arboretum has named Jill C. Koski as its new CEO and president. She will be the fourth leader in the institution’s 100-year history and its first woman in the role. Koski takes over the role from Gerard T. Donnelly, PhD., who is retiring after 32 years of service at the Arboretum.

“The Morton Arboretum helps millions of people maintain a vital connection with trees and plants, while leading efforts to conserve trees throughout the Chicago region and around the world,” said Koski in a press release. “I am honored to lead the institution into its second century and to advance its strategy as a tree champion to create a greener, healthier and more beautiful world.”


Since 2017, Koski has served as the president and CEO of Holden Forests & Gardens in Ohio where she oversaw the integration of the Holden Arboretum and the Cleveland Botanical Garden into one site. She was named a Community Leader of the Year for Environment and Sustainability by Cleveland Magazine.

Return To Arboretum

This role is a return to The Morton Arboretum for Kolski, as she previously worked there as vice president for 10 years.. During that time she piloted a fundraiser for the Growing Brilliantly capital campaign, raising $70 million for the organization’s conservation work.

“Jill Koski brings the vision, professional qualifications and personal characteristics needed to effectively lead The Morton Arboretum into its future,” said Stephen C. Van Arsdell, chair of the Arboretum’s Board of Trustees in a press release. “Additionally, Jill’s career focus and achievements emphasize her commitment to environmental protection, public engagement and education.”

The Arboretum’s vice president of finance and CFO James S. Fawley will act as interim president and CEO after Donnelly’s retirement on September 30, until Koski begins on November 28.

Naperville News 17’s Will Payne reports.

photo courtesy: The Morton Arboretum

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