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Marilyn Jackson is leaving Muhammad Ali Center CEO position

Marilyn Jackson is the outgoing CEO and president of the Muhammad Ali Center.
Chris Bayer
Marilyn Jackson is the outgoing CEO and president of the Muhammad Ali Center.

Marilyn Jackson is leaving her position as CEO and President of the Muhamad Ali Center in Louisville. She held the post for a little over two years.

Marilyn Jackson was named Muhammad Ali Center CEO in December of 2021.

She’s leaving the organization to become President and CEO of the American Alliance of Museums, based in Washington, D.C.

Jackson’s new role will help her to support institutions like the Ali Center nationally.

“Museums and cultural institutions have taken a hit over the years with a lack of funding competition. It's an opportunity for us to really strengthen the sector moving forward,” Jackson said of her new position.

Jackson said she aims to stay on as Ali Center president and CEO until mid-April. She starts at the American Alliance of Museums April 22

When she looks back on her tenure at the Ali Center, Jackson said her biggest accomplishment surrounds ideas from the strategic plan released in June 2022.

“Coming out of that strategic plan, we have expanded our corporate partnerships, we've expanded our community partnerships,” Jackson said. “We've built a whole new incredible website that is drawing visitors from around the world in unique ways and is really the digital place to learn about Muhammad Ali, as well as learn about the center and what we're doing.”

She also cited the start of the first-year college curriculum centered around racial and social justice at Ali Center staff helped develop for Hanover College. Jackson said several other colleges have expressed interest in initiating the curriculum at their institutions.

Jackson hopes this has laid a strong foundation and direction for whoever follows her as the Ali Center’s CEO and president.

Nicole Yates has been named as the chair of the transition team to help find Jackson’s replacement. Other members include former Louisville mayor Greg Fisher, Ingrid Gentry, Bennie Ivory, Stephen Reily and Muhammad Ali’s widow Lonnie Ali.

Jackson said whoever is chosen to succeed her needs to have strong skills in management, fundraising and leadership. But most important is understanding Muhammad Ali in his totality.

“His transition from a boxer to an activist, to a humanitarian to a peacemaker, to a diplomat, and [someone who] can understand how his life can help people lead their life,” Jackson said.

This story has been updated with additional information.

Breya Jones is the Arts & Culture Reporter for LPM. Email Breya at bjones@lpm.org.