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News . Press Releases

Press Releases

October 16, 2015

CIA welcomes new board chair, three new board members

Contact: Ann McGuire, Director of Communications

CLEVELAND, Ohio – Cleveland Institute of Art’s Board of Directors installed William Valerian as its new board chair at its annual meeting on Oct. 6 and welcomed three new board members: Marianne Bernadotte, Russell Trusso, and Cathy Stamler.

Valerian, chairman & chief executive officer of Liberty Bank, NA, has served on CIA boards for more than two decades and takes over for Cleveland State University President Emeritus Michael Schwartz, whose three-year term as board chair began in 2012. Schwartz remains a member of the board.

Valerian served on the CIA Board of Directors from 1994 until 2008, when term limits required him to step down. He served a one-year term on the college’s Advisory Board from 2008 until 2009, then returned to the Board of Directors in 2009. He has served as vice chair of the board, and is a member of the audit committee, finance committee, campus unification project committee, and the capital campaign cabinet.

“I am delighted that Bill has agreed to serve CIA as chair of its board,” said CIA President and CEO Grafton J. Nunes. “His experiences in finance with Liberty Bank and Charter One, in education with John Carroll University, Notre Dame College and St. Ignatius High School, as well as his long service on various committees at CIA qualify him to be a forceful and inspirational chair. He succeeds, for none can replace, the great Michael Schwartz, who led our board through the sale of our original Gund Building to Case Western Reserve University and Cleveland Museum of Art, the construction and launching of our new campus, and the largest entering class in our college’s history. We are blessed to have such continuity of greatness in the leadership of our Board of Directors.”

CIA is mid-way through its first semester on a single, unified campus in more than 39 years. Earlier this year, the college opened its new George Gund Building, which is adjoined to CIA’s Joseph McCullough Center for the Visual Arts, both at 11610 Euclid Avenue. The newly unified campus is attracting renewed attention and accomplished students from across the country and around the world. In fact, CIA welcomed its largest ever freshman class this fall and its enrollment is the highest it has been since the college switched from a five-year to a four-year bachelor of fine arts curriculum nine years ago.

In addition to his long-standing commitment to CIA, Valerian is a well-respected, dedicated volunteer who serves or has served the following organizations in a trustee capacity: Julie Billiart School; Alta House Neighborhood Center; First Suburbs Consortium Development Council; Convention and Visitors Bureau of Greater Cleveland; Steering Committee of Civic Vision 2000; Notre Dame College; Institute of Financial Education; the former Child Guidance Center (now Applewood Centers); and St. Ignatius High School.

Valerian joined Liberty Bank as a director in 2001, was elected chairman of the board in June of 2003 and was appointed CEO in January of 2004. A veteran of the banking industry since 1969, he was formerly director of mortgage consulting for Smythe Cramer Realty's HMAC; was the director of the Muldoon Center for Entrepreneurship at John Carroll University; and was president of Charter One Investor Services, a subsidiary of Charter One Financial, Inc. He held positions of CEO, COO and chief loan officer (CLO) at Home Bank and CEO and COO of Haverfield Corporation, holding company of Home Bank. Prior to Home Bank, Valerian served in various capacities for Third Federal Savings and Loan.

He is a graduate of Marquette University and Leadership Cleveland. His association with CIA began in 1992 when he commissioned students to create artwork to illustrate each section of the Home Bank annual report. The annual report won a national award, and the artists gained citywide exposure as the original artwork was displayed at each of the bank’s branches.

Valerian and his wife, Diane, are 40-year residents of Shaker Heights who both have a keen appreciation for art.

New Board Members

“Marianne Bernadotte, Russell Trusso, and Cathy Stamler will each contribute valuable perspectives, derived from far-ranging experiences, to our board,” Nunes said of the three new board members. Bernadotte and Trusso were elected to the board on Oct. 6; Stamler joined earlier in the year and was formally recognized as a new board member at the meeting.

“I look forward to working with all three in the exciting years ahead. I know they will find their association with Cleveland Institute of Art to be fun and fulfilling,” Nunes added.

Bernadotte is an arts advocate with strong local and international ties. She is past chair of the Women's Committee of the Cleveland Museum of Art where, subsequent to that, she held a staff position in the Development Department creating engagement programs for donors. She is currently the Cultural Community Liaison at the museum. A native of Switzerland, Bernadotte also serves on the Global Leadership Council of the Museum or Arts & Design in New York City.

Trusso is a retired Cleveland Clinic neuro-anesthesiologist. Following his medical career, he was a couturier dress designer and later apprenticed with a master goldsmith to become a jewelry designer. His jewelry creations – which include his unique signature enamel orchids, pearl petal and crystal flowers, diamond kissed pearl necklaces and earrings, unique bracelets, candy colored rings – are all created with tremendous attention to detail. He has received a nomination for new fine jewelry designer by the Council of Fashion Designers of America. Trussoserves on the Advisory Board at Providence House.

Stamler is owner of Stamler Design, a custom invitation, graphic and interior design business she founded in 1994. She started her creative career in art direction with national business magazines in New York and Boston, then spent 17 years in North Carolina establishing her design business. She moved to Cleveland five years ago. Stamler serves on the Board of Directors at Montefiore; co-chairs the JCC Jewish Film Festival for 2016; and is a founding member of 100 Women Who Care CLE Eastside, a grass-roots giving circle. She also tutors reading in the Cleveland Schools through the Public Education Initiative and serves on several philanthropic committees.

About CIA

Founded in 1882, Cleveland Institute of Art is an accredited, independent college of art and design offering 15 majors in studio art, digital art, craft disciplines, and design. CIA extends its programming to the public through gallery exhibitions; lectures; a robust continuing education program; and the Cinematheque, a year-round art and independent film series. CIA’s public programming is supported in part by the residents of Cuyahoga County through a public grant from Cuyahoga Arts & Culture. For more information visit

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