Maria P. Hibbs selected as President of Historic Pullman Foundation

Historic Pullman Foundation’s (HPF) Board of Directors is pleased to announce the selection of Maria Pojeta Hibbs as President of HPF.

Hibbs brings to the Historic Pullman Foundation’s Board over three decades of experience leading civic organizations in Chicagoland’s non-profit sphere. As part of a planned transition, she replaces Joseph C. Szabo, who served as President over the past three years during the organization’s transformation to become the official non-profit partner for Pullman National Historical Park. Szabo will remain on the Board as President Emeritus.

Hibbs is Co-Founder and Founding Executive Director of the Chicago Learning Exchange, a non-profit promoting educational innovation and equity of opportunity for young people in Chicago; and was Executive Director of three civic collaboratives at The Chicago Community Trust. She has also served on a number of non-profit boards throughout her non-profit and corporate career. A George M. Pullman scholarship recipient as a first-generation college student, she brings a wealth of leadership experience, philanthropic connections, communications skills, and community building to the Board.

“I am honored to be leading HPF’s Board in celebrating our 50th year of preserving Pullman’s historic structures – and just as importantly, the stories of people and social movements that have helped shape this nation,” Hibbs said. “America’s stories live in Pullman, and we are proud to collaborate with the National Park Service as the official non-profit partner of Pullman National Historical Park (PNHP).”

The park tells the story of America’s first planned model industrial community; George M. Pullman, the sleeping car magnate who created it; and the workers who lived there. Pullman is significant for its influence on railroad transportation, industrial innovation, urban planning and design, and the American labor and civil rights movements.

“As a life-long South Sider, I am thrilled to support the Park as a national treasure and a catalyst for economic opportunity in this part of the city,” Hibbs said. 

HPF has also welcomed three new members to its Board of Directors. They are Colleen Callahan, former Director of the Illinois Department of Natural Resources and Founder and Owner of Colleen Callahan Consultancy; Angela Manning-Hardimon, Vice President for Finance, Chief Financial Officer and Treasurer, Illinois Institute of Technology; and Kelwin Harris, a Pullman resident and Director of Outreach and Engagement, Cook County Assessor’s Office.

In 2015, then-President Barack Obama designated the Pullman Historic District a national monument.  Its Visitor Center in Pullman’s iconic clock tower building opened in 2021.The U.S. Congress passed legislation including a provision redesignating Pullman National Monument as a national monument, and President Joe Biden signed the bill into law on Dec. 29, 2022.

Hibbs said HPF plans to partner with the National Park Service and other organizations in Pullman and throughout the region to make PNHP a destination for visitors across the country and around the globe.  

Since 1973, Historic Pullman Foundation has preserved Pullman’s buildings, stories, documents and artifacts and educated the public on its history. In 2021, HPF became the official Friends Group of Pullman National Historical Park – National Park Service. HPF provides critical support to help the Park preserve the significant historic structures, landscapes, and legacy of Pullman National Historical Park. Chicago’s only national park is significant for its connection to railroad innovation, two watershed moments in American labor history, its impact on urban planning, and its role in the economic empowerment of Black workers. Learn more about our work and how you can get involved at

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Historic Pullman Foundation’s other Board Members include:

First Vice President Richard Wilson

Second Vice President Natashia L. Holmes

Secretary Douglas Davidson

Treasurer Cynthia McMahon

President Emeritus Joseph C. Szabo

Fred Ash

Jim Badali

Robert Bushwaller

Colleen Callahan

Kelwin Harris

Pat Mahon

Angela Manning-Hardimon

Michael Matejka

Nathaniel Parks

Laura Ruiz-Stephan

Eric Thompson