National Museum of African American History and Culture Announces New Museum Council Chair
After nearly two decades as a founding member of the Advisory Council for the National Museum of African American History and Culture, Kenneth I. Chenault is stepping down as chair of the Council. The new chair is N. Anthony Coles, who has served as Vice Chair of the Advisory Council’s Advancement Committee since 2017. Coles previously served as co-chair of the Living History Campaign, serving with Bank of America CEO Brian Moynihan and actor, director and producer LaTanya Richardson Jackson.
“Kenneth Chenault’s inspirational and passionate leadership has charted a path for the museum since its inception, leaving a legacy for future generations of leaders and museum visitors,” said Kevin Young, the Andrew W. Mellon Director of the National Museum of African American History and Culture. “As a founding Council member, Chenault played a crucial role in making the museum a reality and was integral to the success we see today. His philanthropic efforts helped raise more than $270 million to open the museum doors, allowing more than 9 million visitors in person—with more online—to learn, discuss, and experience the lessons of the past.”
During his tenure, Chenault helped the museum navigate challenges ranging from federal government shutdowns to the COVID-19 pandemic. Chenault’s counsel was vital to overseeing a new phase of leadership through Director Young, whose vision for the museum’s future explores the connection between history and the present, by embracing digital communication, creating the new and the now, and furthering conversations around Black history, art, liberation and joy.
The Advisory Council’s new chair, Dr. N. Anthony Coles, comes to this position after serving as chair of the board of directors for Cerevel Therapeutics since December 2018 and as CEO from September 2019 to June 2023.
Before joining Cerevel, Coles was a founding investor, CEO and chair of the board of Yumanity Therapeutics and had served as CEO, president and chair of the board of Onyx Pharmaceuticals until its acquisition by Amgen in 2013. Before joining Onyx, he was president, CEO and a board member of NPS Pharmaceuticals and had previously been senior vice president of commercial operations at Vertex Pharmaceuticals after holding executive positions earlier in his career at Bristol-Myers Squibb and Merck.
In addition to his previous board roles at Cerevel and Yumanity, Coles currently serves on the board of directors of Regeneron (NASDAQ: REGN) and is a member of the board of trustees for Johns Hopkins University and Johns Hopkins School of Medicine. He also is a member of the board of trustees for The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City, the board of directors of the Council on Foreign Relations, and the Harvard Medical School Advisory Board. In 2021, Coles was elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.
Coles was educated at Johns Hopkins University and earned a medical degree from Duke University and a master’s degree in public health from Harvard University. He completed his cardiology and internal medicine training at Massachusetts General Hospital and was a research fellow at Harvard Medical School.
“During his tenure as a member of the Advisory Council, Anthony Coles has skillfully guided the museum’s fundraising efforts through many challenges over the past several years,” said Director Young. “With Coles at the helm, he has been responsible for securing several significant gifts to the museum’s Living History Campaign, which has raised an impressive $262 million.”
About the National Museum of African American History and Culture
Since opening Sept. 24, 2016, the National Museum of African American History and Culture has welcomed more than 9 million visitors. Occupying a prominent location next to the Washington Monument on the National Mall in Washington, D.C., the nearly 400,000-square-foot museum is the nation’s largest and most comprehensive cultural destination devoted exclusively to exploring, documenting and showcasing the African American story and its impact on American and world history. For more information about the museum, visit nmaahc.si.edu, follow @NMAAHC on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram or call Smithsonian information at (202) 633-1000.
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