Lauren Onkey leaves Tri-C humanities center to head NPR Music in Washington

October 30, 2017 GMT

Lauren Onkey leaves Tri-C humanities center to head NPR Music in Washington

CLEVELAND, Ohio - Lauren Onkey, dean of Cuyahoga Community College’s Jack, Joseph and Morton Mandel Humanities Center, has been named senior director of NPR Music, at National Public Radio in Washington, D.C.

Onkey will oversee NPR Music’s on-air and online programming and collaborate with member stations nationally.

“Lauren comes to us at a time when we’re celebrating our first decade,” Anya Grundmann, vice president of programming and audience development, said in a statement. “As we look forward to the next ten years, and beyond, I’m thrilled to welcome Lauren, who has such great experience in creating transformational moments that bring musicians and audiences together. She will also be a great partner to our network of passionate public radio music stations as we grow our collective voice in support of artists and the essential place music has in our lives.”

Onkey said in a statement that she was “honored to join the innovative team at NPR Music. As a passionate music fan and public radio listener, I’ve come to rely on NPR’s unique, multi-genre platform to keep me open to how music shapes our lives. Every week, millions of people experience NPR Music through live performances, music recommendations, industry news, and insightful stories, commentary and interviews. I look forward to helping this talented team reach new audiences and expand its footprint.”

Onkey led the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame’s education and public programming department before leaving for Tri-C in 2015 to head the new center.

“In that role, she has built the center from the ground up to become a national model for engagement in the humanities,” Tri-C President Alex Johnson said in a notice to the college community on Monday. “With her leadership, the center has forged a stronger relationship with Cleveland State University’s Mandel Honors College to provide a seamless transition for Tri-C Mandel Scholars into CSU’s honors program, including full-tuition scholarships.”

She oversaw “Stokes: Honoring the Past, Inspiring the Future,” a yearlong collaboration that brought together more than 70 partner organizations to celebrate Carl Stokes, the first African American mayor of a major American city, and his brother, Congressman Louis Stokes.

Prior to coming to Tri-C, Onkey spent seven years as vice president of education and public programs at the Rock Hall and 14 years as an English professor at Ball State University in Indiana.

Her research and teaching explored the intersection of popular music with culture, literature and women’s studies, Tri-C said.

Johnson said he will launch a national search for Onkey’s replacement.