COYNE, RICHARD FRANCIS (September 5, 1935 - August 23, 2014) was the founder and first president of the GREAT LAKES SCIENCE CENTER in Cleveland, OH. He was born to Frank W. and Kathryn (McDonald) Coyne in Scranton, PA. After attending high school in Scranton, Coyne attended Harvard University, where he received both a bachelor’s degree and a law degree. A Fulbright Scholarship to India followed. He worked for 16 years with the Economic Development Council of New York City and New York City Partnership Inc.

From 1985 to 1991, Coyne served as president and chief executive of Science Place in Dallas, TX. Coyne’s experience with museum management in Dallas stood him in good stead when he was chosen to spearhead a five-year drive to raise $60 million for the construction of the Great Lakes Science Center in 1991. He oversaw the team of architects (including lead architect E. Verner Johnson), contractors, and museum professionals who built the museum and designed the displays. The Center opened during Cleveland’s bicentennial in 1996, offering three floors of hands-on exhibits and an omnimax movie theater. Within two years, the museum had attracted over a million visitors. Coyne launched the Science and Technology Educational Partnership, an initiative that raised more than $2 million from community partners in order to provide tours and resources to Northeast Ohio teachers and students. 

After retiring from the Center in the summer of 2004, Coyne devoted his time to consulting for nonprofit organizations. He was a member of the leadership board of CLEVELAND CLINIC FOUNDATION’S Glickman Urological and Kidney Institute and chairman of the endowment board at St. Ann Catholic Church in CLEVELAND HEIGHTS. He also served on the board of the Irish American Archives Society and received the Society’s WALKS OF LIFE AWARD in 2011. 

He was married to Glady Coyne, and to his second wife, Susan (McNulty) Coyne, for 37 years. He was the father of Dr. Robert F., Mark E., and Paul A. Coyne. He passed away on August 23, 2014 at the age of 78 and is buried in a private cemetery in his hometown of Scranton, PA.

Daniel Brennan and David Patrick Ryan


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