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Steven S. Koblik, President


Steven S. KoblikSteven S. Koblik was named the seventh president of The Huntington Library, Art Collections, and Botanical Gardens in September 2001. In this role, he is responsible for building on Henry E. Huntington’s legacy to encourage research and promote education in the arts, humanities, and botanical sciences through the growth and preservation of The Huntington’s collections, through the development and support of a community of scholars, and through the display and interpretation of its extraordinary resources to the public. In a list of honors announced by the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, Steven Koblik is among leaders from academia, business, public affairs, the humanities, and the arts elected to the prestigious honorary society.


Koblik’s tenure at The Huntington has been marked by a period of unprecedented activity and growth. Koblik began by building a formidable advancement team, followed by the public launch in July 2004 of the largest capital campaign in The Huntington’s history. For Generations to Come—The Campaign for The Huntington was a comprehensive six-year initiative to raise $175 million in annual, capital, and endowment gifts with the goal of sustaining current programs, strengthening the physical infrastructure, and safeguarding the institution’s future. Notably, In the middle of the campaign, The Huntington was ranked in the top 10 for fundraising by cultural institutions in 2007 by the Chronicle of Philanthropy. At its conclusion, For Generations to Come had raised $244 million, 40 percent above the targeted goal.


Several major capital projects have been completed under Koblik’s leadership, most recently the renovation and restoration of the Japanese Garden (April 2012). In celebration of the Garden’s centennial, the primary goals of the project were to protect the garden’s historic core and to enhance it with a tea garden, a new waterfall, and increased accessibility. Past projects include expansion and reinstallation of the Virginia Steele Scott Galleries (2009); opening of the Dibner Hall of History of Science, Medicine, and Technology as a permanent installation in the Library (2008); renovation of the Huntington Art Gallery (2008); opening of The Huntington’s new Chinese garden, complete with an authentic 3.5 acre Suzhou-style scholar's garden (2008); and construction of the Botanical Center Complex and Munger Research Center (both in 2004).


New acquisitions and the special exhibition program have become increasingly ambitious over the past few years, with major loan shows now a mainstay.


Before coming to The Huntington, Koblik was president of Reed College, Portland, Ore., from 1992 to 2001, overseeing a successful capital campaign and substantial capital improvements. In 1989, he was named dean of the faculty at Scripps College, Claremont, Calif., after teaching for several years as professor of history at Pomona College and the Claremont Graduate School, both in Claremont. In 2012, Koblik was elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.


Trained as a diplomatic historian, Koblik holds a bachelor’s degree from the University of California, Berkeley, in history and Scandinavian languages, a master’s from the University of Stockholm in international relations, and a doctorate from Northwestern University, Evanston, Ill., in modern European history. His numerous books and articles have focused on Scandinavia, especially its experiences during the two World Wars. An award winning teacher at Pomona College, Koblik received an honorary doctorate from the University of Lund (Sweden) for his contributions to modern Swedish history and an honorary doctorate from Occidental College, Eagle Rock, Calif., in 2002 for his many contributions there, as well as an honorary doctorate from Pomona College in 2005. His last book, The Stones Cry Out: Sweden’s Response to German Persecution of Jews, 1933–1945, has been widely acclaimed for its pioneering research.

About The Huntington

The Huntington Library, Art Collections, and Botanical Gardens is a collections-based research and educational institution established in 1919 by Henry E. and Arabella Huntington. Henry Huntington, a key figure in the...

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