Alumnus Becomes Member of International Think Tank

Oct. 22, 2018

Alumnus Becomes Member of International Think Tank
Leigh Gerdine College of Fine Arts alumnus Tom Owen has joined the Institute for Learning and Innovation.

ST. LOUIS – St. Louis-based PGAV Destinations Vice President and Senior Planner and Designer Tom Owen was recently honored by joining The Institute for Learning and Innovation (ILI), the foremost think tank for free-choice learning.

In his 30-year career as a strategic planner and creative designer of cultural attractions and destinations around the world, Owen has been recognized for his collaborative leadership and industry insights. He has helped to drive innovation at dozens of education-based destinations by integrating informal learning with broadly appealing experiences.

“Tom joins the Institute at an exciting time,” said Dr. John H. Falk, Executive Director of ILI. “His background creating visitor experiences with partners like Kennedy Space Center, Georgia Aquarium, and the Saint Louis Zoo adds timely expertise to our board as we explore new ways to advance knowledge and practice around free-choice learning.”

“ILI attracts a stellar group of board members from diverse backgrounds,” said Owen. “I feel honored to join them to chart a vision and plan, and I expect to learn much I can apply to my own work.”

Tom Owen is a graduate of Webster University in Saint Louis, earning a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Theater Arts, with a focus on set design and lighting. With a passion for translating stories of nature, history, and culture into engaging guest experiences, he has worked with some of the world’s must-see education attractions, including Niagara Falls, the Missouri Botanical Garden, The Saint Louis Zoo (recently voted America’s #1 Zoo by USA Today readers), Yosemite National Park, Biltmore Estate, and many more. Owen recently presented “Curating a Creative Culture” at the American Alliance of Museums Annual Meeting.

About PGAV Destinations

PGAV Destinations is a global leader in the planning and design of unique destinations. Now entering its sixth decade, the practice has evolved to become the ideal destination-consulting partner, skilled at developing growth-oriented master plans and translating those plans into successful projects. No other firm offers such an integrated approach to destination planning. 

PGAV Destinations’ key clients include industry leaders such as Delaware North Companies, SeaWorld Parks and Entertainment, the Biltmore Companies, Bass Pro Shops, Ameristar Casinos, Universal Studios, The Gettysburg Foundation, the Saint Louis Zoo, and many others. Recent assignments include planning and design at many of the world’s “must see” destinations, including the Grand Canyon, Biltmore Estate, Space Shuttle Atlantis, Chimelong Ocean Kingdom, the Georgia Aquarium, the Hoover Dam, and SeaWorld Adventure Parks.

About the Institute for Learning and Innovation
The Institute for Learning and Innovation is a think-tank of creative individuals with varied backgrounds, diverse perspectives, and a unique set of knowledge, skills, and abilities that strives to create a more informed, just and sustainable world by ensuring that all people are able to engage in free-choice learning. ILI is working to change the way the world defines, understands, and supports education and lifelong learning of the public.

ILI creates new pathways and expanded opportunities for individuals, organizations, and communities to achieve their learning needs and goals through basic and applied research, innovative approaches, and programs that support free-choice learning and the bringing together of educational leaders to re-imagine how education can best support the public’s needs and interests. With projects spanning the globe, ILI’s work is enhanced by its strong collaborative relationships with prominent international experts, educators, government officials, and social innovators.

 The Institute is firmly committed to reshaping the learning landscape by catalyzing innovation in lifelong, free-choice learning – learning that is self-motivated and fulfills the life-long human quest for knowledge, understanding, and personal fulfillment.

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