Covering the Land of Lincoln

University Circle Inc. names Kate Borders as new president

More than a year after Chris Ronayne announced he would step down as president of University Circle Inc. to run for Cuyahoga County Executive, the organization named Kate Borders, the current president of Downtown Tempe Authority & Downtown Tempe Foundation in Arizona, as his successor.

Borders will begin her tenure as UCI’s president on Monday, June 12. Gary Hanson, the former executive director of the Cleveland Orchestra, has served as UCI’s interim president since October 2021.

Borders, who has 20 years of experience in the field, is a nationally recognized leader in urban development and place management, according to the Friday, Jan. 20, statement from the UCI board of trustees. In her current position, Borders worked with Tempe’s merchants, property owners, city leaders and Arizona State University to foster downtown renewal.

“I am very excited that Kate will be taking over the leadership of UCI,” said Craig Martahus, chair of UCI’s board of trustees, in a statement. “She is bringing a wealth of experience and passion to the Circle that is going to benefit all of our stakeholders.”

She also currently chairs the International Downtown Association, a research and public policy organization with more than 575 members worldwide that supports the creation of city centers, commercial neighborhoods and urban places.

Borders previously was president of the Downtown Fresno Partnership in Fresno, California, and has been CEO of the East Town Association in Milwaukee and of the Peoria Art Guild in Peoria, Illinois.

“My love of community and place management was born through my career experiences, for which I’m incredibly grateful,” Borders said in a statement. “This position melds the two, and it’s an honor to have been selected as UCI’s next leader. I cannot wait to get connected and start this work.”

Borders’ selection came after a nationwide search led by an executive search firm in tandem with a seven-member UCI board-appointed search committee chaired by Geri Presti, president and CEO of The Music Settlement.

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