Marquette University announces new director of Haggerty Museum of Art

May 21, 2024

John McKinnonMILWAUKEE — John McKinnon, executive director of the Elmhurst Art Museum in Elmhurst, Illinois, has been named the next director of the Haggerty Museum of Art at Marquette University, Dr. John Su, vice provost for academic affairs and student success, announced today. McKinnon succeeds Emilia Layden, who has served as acting director since July 2023.

McKinnon will begin in the role on July 8, joining the Haggerty Museum of Art as it prepares to celebrate its 40th anniversary over the course of the 2024-25 academic year.

“Following a year of strong leadership by acting director Emilia Layden, the Haggerty is entering a period of tremendous growth and opportunity,” Su said. “Our committee sought a candidate who could build on the Haggerty’s foundation of high impact academic and community engagement and take the institution to the next level. John is warm, energetic, a collaborative leader, and we’re delighted that he is joining the Marquette and Milwaukee community.”

McKinnon has 17 years of experience leading teams, managing an organization’s creative output, cultivating community support, and overseeing growth, doing so at the Elmhurst Art Museum, Society for Contemporary Art at the Art Institute of Chicago, and the Milwaukee Art Museum. In 2022, he was featured in Newcity Design's “Design 50: The Fifty People Who Shape Chicago.”

“I admire the Haggerty Museum of Art’s nearly 40-year history as a laboratory for the Marquette campus and greater Milwaukee area with a deep commitment to transformative experiences of art and culture,” McKinnon said. “I look forward to leading this uniquely positioned and free-to-the-public institution into its next chapter.”

Prior to the Elmhurst Art Museum, McKinnon was the program director of the Society for Contemporary Art, where he worked with donors and collectors to support contemporary art at the Art Institute of Chicago. He oversaw the independent nonprofit's budgets, operations, membership, programming, fundraising, marketing and art acquisitions. McKinnon also spent nearly four years at the Milwaukee Art Museum, where he oversaw several major exhibitions as assistant curator of modern and contemporary art. He also acted as the main liaison of the Contemporary Art Society, coordinating their programming and fundraisers.

McKinnon graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Madison with a bachelor's degree in art. He then received two master’s degrees from the Art Institute of Chicago in art and arts administration.

The Haggerty Museum of Art connects people—on campus, in the community, and around the world—to art, to ideas, and to one another. The museum uses the interdisciplinary lens of art to cultivate knowledge, insight, understanding, and belonging, all in service of Marquette University’s commitment to care for the whole person.

About Marquette University

Marquette University is a Catholic, Jesuit university located near the heart of downtown Milwaukee that offers a comprehensive range of majors in 11 nationally and internationally recognized colleges and schools. Through the formation of hearts and minds, Marquette prepares our 11,100 undergraduate, graduate, doctoral and professional students to lead, excel and serve as agents of positive change. And, we deliver results. Ranked in the top 20% of national universities, Marquette is recognized for its undergraduate teaching, innovation and career preparation as the sixth-best university in the country for job placement. Our focus on student success and immersive, personalized learning experiences encourages students to think critically and engage with the world around them. When students graduate with a Marquette degree, they are truly prepared and called to Be The Difference.

About Kevin Conway

Kevin Conway

Kevin is the associate director for university communication in the Office of University Relations. Contact Kevin at (414) 288-4745 or