News Release
Contact: Sondra Katzen, Public Relations, 708.688.8351,
November 10, 2021
Chicago Zoological Society Hosts Retirement Dinner to Honor
Dr. Stuart Strahl, Organization’s Outgoing President and CEO

 Brookfield, Ill.— The Chicago Zoological Society’s (CZS) Board of Trustees hosted a retirement dinner honoring Dr. Stuart Strahl, the Society’s outgoing president and CEO, in mid-September. The event, held outdoors at Brookfield Zoo’s Pavilions, featured a cocktail reception and dinner. The approximately 120 guests also had the opportunity to meet several of the zoo’s animal ambassadors.

The evening featured comments from several board members and guests, who spoke of Dr. Strahl’s accomplishments during his 18 years leading the institution. Those who spoke included Cherryl Thomas, recently appointed CZS board chair; John Grube, CZS vice chair and board chair from 2015-2021; Bill Kunkler, deputy chair and CZS board chair from 2009-2015; Toni Preckwinkle, president of the Forest Preserves of Cook County; and Arnold Randall, general superintendent of the Forest Preserves of Cook County.

During the memorable evening, Illinois Speaker of the House Emanuel “Chris” Welch and State Representative Mike Zalewski presented Dr. Strahl with Illinois House Resolution 187, celebrating his career achievements. Additionally, Cherryl Thomas, John Grube, and Bill Kunkler gave Dr. Strahl a Steuben crystal bison, an animal that represents one of the first North American conservation success stories and the symbol of the Chicago Zoological Society for that very reason.

Under Strahl’s leadership, there was much progress, growth, and many positive changes at Brookfield Zoo. These include furthering the Society’s mission with the development of the programmatic Centers of Excellence—Center for the Science of Animal Care and Welfare and
Center for Conservation Leadership.

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About the Chicago Zoological Society
The mission of the Chicago Zoological Society is to inspire conservation leadership by engaging people and communities with wildlife and nature. The Chicago Zoological Society is a private nonprofit organization that operates Brookfield Zoo on land owned by the Forest Preserves of Cook County. The Society is known throughout the world for its international role in animal population management and wildlife conservation. Its Center for the Science of Animal Care and Welfare is at the forefront of animal care that strives to discover and implement innovative approaches to zoo animal management. Brookfield Zoo is the first zoo in the world to be awarded the Humane Certified™ certification mark for the care and welfare of its animals, meeting American Humane Association’s rigorous certification standards. The zoo is located at 8400 31st Street in Brookfield, Illinois, between the Stevenson (I-55) and Eisenhower (I-290) expressways and also is accessible via the Tri-State Tollway (I-294), Metra commuter line, and CTA and PACE bus service. For further information, visit


Sondra Katzen
Media Relations Manager
Office: 708-688-8351
Cell Phone: 708-903-2071


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