SAN ANTONIO, Texas (December 14, 2023) – The Witte Museum Board of Trustees today announced that Dirk Elmendorf is the next President & CEO of the Witte Museum, effective January 1, 2024. Elmendorf succeeds Marise McDermott, who announced earlier this year she would conclude her 20-year tenure as President & CEO and become President Emeritus starting in 2024.
“I’ve witnessed firsthand Dirk Elmendorf’s tremendous passion and ability to generate enthusiasm and support for the Witte’s mission as we’ve served together on the board over the past decade,” said Ryan Berg, chair of the Witte Museum Board of Trustees. “Dirk will build on the current momentum and bridge where we’ve been with where we’re going.”
Elmendorf joined the Witte Museum Board of Trustees in November 2012 and was Chair of the Board during the COVID-19 pandemic. He is a co-founder of Rackspace Technology (RXT), which is now a publically traded company, and is a successful entrepreneur with a career spanning more than two decades. Elmendorf is active in the community, serving on a number of city and public committees, and is an advocate for education.
“The mission of the Witte to shape the future of Texas is a calling for me,” Elmendorf said. “I’m honored to lead the Witte and build on the legacy of Marise McDermott, who has been an incredible mentor to me.”
Elmendorf shared that using technology to expand the Witte’s impact would be among his priorities. “I will lead our initiative to create a ‘digital doorway’ to the Witte’s curators and collection. Our new learning platform Texas Museums 360 will allow the Witte to reach more Texas children and get them to truly engage with science and history.”
McDermott expressed her enthusiasm for Elmendorf’s appointment. “Dirk Elmendorf will elevate the Witte in ways we cannot now imagine,” McDermott said. “What we do know from Dirk’s years as a Trustee is that he is an energetic, innovative and collaborative leader. I look forward to Dirk galvanizing the Witte’s mission to shape the future of San Antonio and Texas.”
“Dirk Elmendorf has engaged with every aspect of the museum through his service on the Witte board, from curatorial to collections and fundraising,” said Peggy Walker, Legacy Trustee and co-chair of the New Witte Campaign. “This volunteer experience has given him deep insight into the trust museum leaders are expected to uphold.”
The Witte Museum—celebrating its 100th Anniversary in 2026—has been through a dramatic transformation over the past decade. Elmendorf will lead an organization with big plans, including the launch of Texas Museums 360, a new inquiry-based science curriculum for Texas schools, and the development of new exhibitions and galleries. These initiatives, and many more to come, help the Witte fulfill its mission to inspire people to shape the future of Texas through transformative and relevant experiences in nature, science and culture.
Dirk Elmendorf Biography
Dirk Elmendorf moved to San Antonio to attend Trinity University and graduated with a B.A. in Economics. After helping to start a very small computer consulting company, he stumbled onto the idea that would change his life. Dirk co-founded Rackspace Managed Hosting in 1999. Rackspace (RXT) is currently a public company. Dirk left Rackspace in 2009 to get back to his start-up roots. He serves on a number of city and public committees and is very focused on Science and Math education. He is the past chair of the board for the Witte Museum and the chair of Tech Bloc.