The Strong Museum's G. Rollie Adams Announces December Retirement

The Strong News Release
One Manhattan Square Rochester, NY 14607 585-263-2700

August 1, 2016

For Immediate Release

Shane Rhinewald, 585-410-6365,

Noelle McElrath-Hart, 585-410-6325,

The Strong’s G. Rollie Adams Announces December Retirement,
New President and CEO Named

ROCHESTER, New York—After nearly three decades as President and CEO of The Strong, G. Rollie Adams has announced his plan to retire effective December 31, 2016. Under Adams’s direction The Strong has evolved into a world-renowned cultural institution and the first collections-based museum anywhere devoted solely to the critical role of play in learning and human development and the ways in which play illuminates cultural history. Effective January 1, 2017, Adams will become president and CEO emeritus at The Strong and also assume a consulting role, in which capacity he will assist with fundraising and advise on strategic museum development.

“I cannot imagine how any museum position anywhere could have been more fun and rewarding than the one I have been fortunate to experience at The Strong these many years,” says Adams. “I am enormously grateful to a host of colleagues on the board and the staff and in this community and elsewhere for their recognition of the value of our educational mission and for their encouragement and support on the strategic journey we have been undertaking together. There is significant additional need and opportunity for the museum to extend its mission in the future, and I am excited that I will be able to contribute toward that in a new capacity while having more time for family and pursuing other interests to which I have been looking forward for quite a while.”

Adams is long regarded as visionary by his Strong colleagues and by museum professionals across the nation. His tenure at The Strong is synonymous with extraordinary and sustained growth. Adams oversaw two major building expansions (in 1997 and 2006), ultimately nearly doubling the museum’s footprint to 285,000 square feet, making it one of the country’s largest history museums and the recipient of accolades such as “the number one family travel destination in the nation.” He introduced several nationally and internationally significant initiatives that further positioned the institution as a leader in the field of play. The most notable among these are acquiring the National Toy Hall of Fame and launching the International Center for the History of Electronic Games, the World Video Game Hall of Fame, the Brian Sutton-Smith Library and Archives of Play, the Woodbury School, and the American Journal of Play. Also under Adams, the museum has assembled the world’s largest and most comprehensive collection of toys, dolls, games, electronic games, and other historical materials related to play; developed fellowship programs that provide financial support for scholarly play research; and created strategic partnerships with other national and international business and educational organizations, such as Sesame Workshop, Wegmans Food Markets, the Academy of Interactive Arts and Sciences, and the Toy Industry Association, which last year brought its Toy Industry Hall of Fame to Rochester and The Strong. Together, these activities serve growing and diverse audiences of adults, children, students, teachers, and scholars.

The Strong has become a major economic driver for the Rochester region under Adams’s leadership, annually attracting more than 500,000 guests from across the United States and from dozens of foreign countries, and employing more than 250. In addition, Adams has helped establish a variety of community access programs and other community collaborations that make The Strong broadly accessible to thousands of Rochester-area children and families who might otherwise not have an opportunity to experience the museum.

After learning of Adams’s intent to retire, earlier this year the Executive Committee of The Strong’s Board of Trustees convened as a Search Committee to conduct the process of identifying his successor. Their recommendation for the museum’s next chief executive was unanimously approved by the full Board of Trustees on July 28.

The Strong is pleased to announce Steve M. Dubnik as its president and CEO, effective January 1, 2017. Dubnik is CEO of Lexifone Communications Systems, a fully automatic voice translation and transcription service company with a worldwide customer base. Dubnik comes to The Strong with 30 years of entrepreneurial experience that also includes leadership roles with telecommunications and technology start-ups such as OnCell, NYSYS Wireless LLC, and Choice One Communications. Dubnik has been a member of The Strong’s Board of Trustees since 2000 and has served as chairperson since 2014. He is intimately engaged with museum operations and strategic vision as a long-time member of the museum Executive and Finance Committees and as co-project manager, with Adams, on The Strong’s Inner Loop East development proposal. Dubnik resigned as board chairman in July to pursue the position of museum chief executive.

“Rollie Adams is a leader whose vision and commitment have been instrumental in the growth of The Strong,” says Laura Saxby Lynch, director of corporate communications at Paychex and chairperson of The Strong’s board of trustees. “When looking for our next CEO, the board of trustees took seriously its obligation to identify a leader who will build on our foundation of growth and guide the institution into the future. With his leadership experience, knowledge of The Strong, and his passion for the organization, we are confident that Steve is the right person to take on this integral role.”

About The Strong
The Strong is the only collections-based museum in the world devoted solely to play. It is home to the International Center for the History of Electronic Games, the National Toy Hall of Fame, the World Video Game Hall of Fame, the Brian Sutton-Smith Library and Archives of Play, the Woodbury School, and the American Journal of Play and houses the world’s largest and most comprehensive collection of historical materials related to play. Known widely as the nation’s museum of play, The Strong blends the best features of both history museums (extensive collections) and children’s museums (high interactivity) to explore the ways in which play encourages learning, creativity, and discovery and illuminates cultural history.