Robert J. Fitzpatrick


December 01, 2007|By Jacques Kelly

Former Baltimore City Councilman Robert J. Fitzpatrick might be remembered as the guy who got a noise-control law passed in the 1970s. He left town in early 1975 without completing his only term as a member of the council. And he's on the move again.

"I've had about 13 different careers," he said one day this week as he stepped down after serving a decade as director of Chicago's Museum of Contemporary Art. "I just like to do things I don't know how to do."

Born in Toronto, he came to Baltimore as chairman of the Gilman School foreign language department. Active in the anti-Vietnam War movement, he won a seat on the City Council.

While on the council, he was tapped to be dean of students at the Johns Hopkins University's Homewood campus.

Fitzpatrick left Baltimore in 1975, a few months before the end of his term, to take over the California Institute of the Arts in Los Angeles. Before landing in Chicago in 1998, he directed the cultural component of the 1984 Olympics held in Los Angeles, headed the Euro Disney project in France and was a dean at Columbia University.

Fitzpatrick, 67, lives in Chicago. He and his wife, Sylvie, have been married for 42 years and have three grown children, Joel, Michael and Claire.

"I vow never to repeat myself," he said. "I love the learning process. I never know in advance what I'm going to do."

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