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At the recent annual meeting of the Board of Directors of the International Tennis Hall of Fame & Museum, CEO Mark L. Stenning announced that he will step down from his position in September 2014. Stenning began his career at the Hall of Fame in 1980, and over the years he has held the positions of Tournament Director, Executive Vice President, and Chief Operating Officer. He was named Chief Executive Officer of the International Tennis Hall of Fame & Museum in 2000. Stenning will remain in his current position until September 2014. He will then transition to consulting work for the organization, as well as remaining on the Board of Directors for the foreseeable future.
"Mark is a highly respected and special leader. He has brought the International Tennis Hall of Fame & Museum to levels that our visionary founders never could have imagined," commented International Tennis Hall of Fame & Museum Chairman Christopher E. Clouser. "Under Mark's leadership, the organization has developed programs to ensure the future success in work toward our mission to preserve the history of tennis. He has successfully directed world-class tennis events ranging from the annual Hall of Fame Tennis Championships to a Davis Cup tie, and many others. He has developed partnerships with other leading tennis industry organizations, such as the ATP, WTA, ITF, USTA, Wimbledon, French Tennis Federation, and Tennis Australia, among others. He has always been a diligent steward of the historic buildings and grounds, and the one-of-a-kind museum collection. Thanks to the dedication and commitment Mark has always shown, a bright future lies ahead for the International Tennis Hall of Fame & Museum. On behalf of the Board of Directors, we thank him for his countless contributions to our work and commend the many significant accomplishments he has made possible. We are pleased he will stay active and involved with the organization for years to come."
Stenning has been an active leader within the organization for more than half of the Hall of Fame's existence (founded in 1954). Under his guidance, it has grown exponentially from a modest museum and tennis facility to be a multi-faceted organization that serves as the officially sanctioned worldwide Hall of Fame for the sport, and includes one of the world's premier sports museums and research centers, an ATP World Tour tournament, and year-round indoor and outdoor tennis clubs. He has overseen the Hall of Fame enshrinement for 128 of the sport's greatest champions and contributors. Also during Stenning's tenure, the 7-acre property- which was built in 1880 and was the host facility of the first U.S. National Lawn Tennis Championships in 1881- has been completely restored to its original 19th century grandeur. In 1987, the facility was named a National Historic Landmark, and the organization maintains an active role in the historic preservation community. The Board of Directors recently approved a plan to further enhance and improve the facility, which will begin in 2014.
"When I began with the Hall of Fame in 1980, I never imagined what incredible career opportunities would lay ahead of me with the organization. Thirty-four years later, I look back with great appreciation for having been part of such outstanding work and projects and to have worked with so many dedicated people in the tennis industry, historic preservation industry, and hospitality industry in Rhode Island," commented Stenning. "There are a variety of notable achievements for the Hall of Fame that I enjoy reflecting on, but I am most proud of the devoted team that we have developed. I know that I am leaving the organization in good hands. I remain as committed to the International Tennis Hall of Fame & Museum and our mission in the year ahead as I was 34 years ago, and I look forward to staying involved as a consultant and at the board level for the Hall of Fame after next September."
Stenning has been highly active in the professional tennis industry during his tenure at the Hall of Fame. He has served as tournament director for WTA and ATP World Tour events, and is the current tournament director for the Hall of Fame Tennis Championships, an annual event that is the only men's pro tournament in New England. Over the years, he has been responsible for sponsorship, operations, and player relations of the events. In addition, he serves as a representative for all the other 250-level tournaments in North and South America on the ATP World Tour Tournament Council. He has served on the Davis Cup, Fed Cup, and Olympic Team Events Committee of the United States Tennis Association (USTA) since 2005, and has also been a member of the USTA Board Nominating Committee.
The Museum at the International Tennis Hall of Fame has grown significantly during Stenning's tenure. Most recently, it underwent an extensive, three-year review by the American Alliance of Museums, which resulted in the Hall of Fame being granted accreditation status- the first sports hall of fame to receive this top honor for the museum industry. Also during Stenning's tenure, the Museum launched a program granting free admission for all kids ages 16 and under. Since the program was instituted in 2010, more than 15,000 children have visited the Museum free of charge, to learn about and to be inspired by the history of the sport. In addition, Stenning has devoted a significant amount of his career at the Hall of Fame to major restoration projects necessary in maintaining a 19th century property. This has included work within the main building, improvements to the historic stadium, and the complete restoration of the 295-seat Casino Theatre on the property, which was done in cooperation with Salve Regina University, community leaders, and the Hall of Fame Board of Directors.
In addition to his work at the Hall of Fame, Stenning serves on several non-profit and corporate boards of directors. In recognition of his contributions to tennis, USTA New England honored Stenning with the Gardner Ward Chase Award in 2010 and the Special Recognition Award in 1995. In 2007, he was presented with the Schroeder Award for Distinguished Service by the International Sports Heritage Association. He also received the 2007 Charles B. Willard Achievement Award from his alma mater, Rhode Island College.
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