A member of the board of trustees since 2005, Ms. Fretz brings extensive financial and management expertise and Philadelphia philanthropic connections, succeeding Mark E. Rubenstein on June 1, 2019
PHILADELPHIA, PA—May 22, 2019 —The Curtis Institute of Music board of trustees announces the election of Deborah M. Fretz as its new chair, effective June 1, 2019. Ms. Fretz succeeds Mark E. Rubenstein, whose three-year tenure saw increased awareness of Curtis in key touring locations and refinement of the school’s governance structure.
“Debbie is a dedicated and respected trustee who has continuously offered a wealth of expertise and support, especially in maintaining the financial health and transparency of the school,” said Curtis President Roberto Díaz. “She has established a wonderful working relationship with the senior management team at Curtis, as well as other nonprofit institutions in the area, and we are all tremendously excited to work with her in this new role.”
An active trustee since 2005, Ms. Fretz is deeply knowledgeable about many facets of Curtis’s governance, having served as treasurer from 2009–16 and as vice chair from 2016–19. She has also held leadership roles on the finance, facilities, and executive committees of the board. A resident of Newtown Square, Pa., Ms. Fretz has contributed to special fundraising endeavors as co-chair of the 90th Anniversary Gala and through gifts to endow the Gary and Naomi Graffman Scholarship Fund.
During his tenure as board chair, Mark E. Rubenstein led by example, providing enormous financial support, especially to student wellness programs and instrument acquisitions. Among his chief accomplishments were streamlining Curtis’s board structures, revising its bylaws and articles of incorporation, and expanding the school’s touring activities and visibility in Nantucket, Palm Beach, and New York. Prior to his appointment, he provided his real estate expertise throughout the genesis of Lenfest Hall and the purchase and renovation of the Rubenstein Centre, both of which expanded and improved campus facilities.
“It’s been an honor and a humbling experience to have served this amazing institution where everyone seeks perfection in what they do, whether student, faculty, or staff—it’s just innate to Curtis,” said Mr. Rubenstein. “President Díaz and the staff have been very responsive to every suggestion of my colleagues on the board, including those on our various committees, enacting a lot of changes to keep the school on the cutting edge. Their work demonstrates what great things can be accomplished when everyone is focused on a strong strategic plan. I know that meaningful achievements like these will continue under Debbie’s leadership.”
Ms. Fretz has been a longtime leader in industry and philanthropy in Pennsylvania. She began her career with the Sun Oil Company in the 1970s, and remained with the company for 33 years, the last ten years of which were spent as President and CEO of Sunoco Logistics Partners, a New York Stock Exchange publicly traded company. In addition to her activities at Curtis, she currently serves as chair of the board at Project H.O.M.E., is a former trustee of the Foundation of the Free Library of Philadelphia, and is a former board member of the Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia.
Ms. Fretz holds a bachelor of science degree in biology and chemistry from Butler University; a master of business administration from Temple University’s Fox School of Business, where she now serves on the Dean’s Council; and completed the Senior Executive Program at the Sloan School at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. In 2018 she was named a Centennial Honoree by the Fox School as part of its 100th anniversary celebration. She was named a member of the Distinguished Daughters of Pennsylvania in 2008 when she was recognized by the Governor for her extraordinary service and contributions to the Commonwealth.
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