November 20, 2017

Ecotarium president Joe Cox to step down

Ecotarium President Joe Cox.

Joe Cox, president of the Worcester children's museum Ecotarium, will resign from his position on Jan. 26, the museum announced Monday.

Cox has accepted an appointment as president to "one of the largest museums in the south," the Ecotarium said, but did not disclose which museum.

Kerry Castorano, EcoTarium director of institutional advancement, said Cox's new museum has asked the appointment to be kept embargoed until Dec. 7.

Trustee Patty Eppinger will serve as interim president and will work with Cox and the leadership team on a transition plan. Eppinger has been a leader in the nonprofit community since she moved to the region in the mid-2000s and the Hanover Theatre's new $5 million conservatory is named after her and her husband -- former Hanover Insurance Group CEO Frederick Eppinger.

Cox began his tenure with the Ecotarium as president in 2012 and has been instrumental in its growth and success since then, including a record 167,000 visitors in 2016 and multiple new exhibits.

According to the Ecotarium, Cox is credited with establishing the Alden Digital Planetarium, the first National Geographic partner planetarium in New England. Other exhibits that opened during Cox's time as president include City Science and Nature Explore. Another exhibit, Wild Cat Station, is expected to open in the spring.

Other accomplishments include establishing EcoTarium North as permanently protected conservation land to be used as part of Crow Hill Pasture, completing two phases of the museum's Third Century Campaign, significant grant funding from the National Science Foundation and other organizations and increasing attendance and membership by nearly 30 percent.

In a statement, Cox said leaving the museum was a difficult decision because of the recent success.

"It was ultimately the EcoTarium's current vitality and stability that makes this the right moment to do so," he said. "The entire team at the museum has worked hard to strengthen the position of the EcoTarium in the community, and I am now ready for new challenges."

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