Dean, Conservatory of Music
M.A., University of Akron

Susan Van Vorst

Susan Van Vorst headshotDean, Conservatory of Music

M.A., University of Akron
B.A., Kent State University

Susan Van Vorst is dean of the Baldwin Wallace University Conservatory of Music. She became the eighth director of the Conservatory in 2012, arriving on campus with an impressive record of leadership in the Northeast Ohio arts community. Van Vorst, a passionate advocate for excellence in the study and performance of music, has also taught a fundraising component of the arts management & entrepreneurship curriculum at Baldwin Wallace.

Prior to her appointment at Baldwin Wallace, Van Vorst served as director of development for the Musical Arts Association, the non-profit organization that oversees and promotes The Cleveland Orchestra. In this role, she led a team of professional advancement staff responsible for annual fund revenue of $2.9 million and comprehensive campaign commitments of $30 million each year. She developed fundraising, audience development and advocacy strategies for Summit County and served as the primary staff liaison for the Blossom Music Center board of overseers.

From 1997-2010 Van Vorst was foundation president and vice president of fund development at Stan Hywet Hall & Gardens in Akron, Ohio. She provided fiscal, programmatic and strategic direction for a foundation supporting a historic museum and public garden with an operating budget of $4.5 million. During Van Vorst's tenure at Stan Hywet, the organization completed two successful capital campaigns, introduced a legacy society and raised $18.7 million in support of ongoing operations and restoration efforts for this National Historic Landmark. Van Vorst helped to create the Stan Hywet Hall & Gardens Foundation, formed in 1998, and served as its president from its inception until 2006 when the foundation board merged with Stan Hywet's operating board. A highlight of her tenure at Stan Hywet was the design and leadership of a campaign to restore the 1915 Aeolian organ in the manor house music room. Van Vorst played a primary role in Stan Hywet's presentation of musical programming.

Van Vorst is a summa cum laude graduate of both The University of Akron with a Master of Arts in Arts Management, and Kent State University with a Bachelor of Arts in Music. She led the enrollment efforts for the Baldwin Wallace University Conservatory of Music from 1989-97 and has served in various management capacities for DANCECleveland, the Akron Symphony and the San Antonio Symphony. Van Vorst serves as the chair for Region 5, National Association of Schools of Music. She serves on the scholarship committee of the Presser Foundation, one of the few private foundations in the United States dedicated solely to music education and music philanthropy. Susan was a board member for the Gestalt Institute of Cleveland from 2016-2022, and she is a member of the Leadership Cleveland Class of '23.