Columbia College Chicago Board of Trustees Elects John M. Holmes as New Chair

PhotoJohn M. Holmes co-chaired Columbia's "Unleashed 2022" Gala.
Head of AAR CORP. succeeds Bill Wolf as Chair.

John M. Holmes has been elected Chair of the Columbia College Chicago Board of Trustees. Holmes is the Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer of AAR CORP., a leading provider of aviation services to commercial and government customers worldwide. He has been a Columbia Trustee since 2012 and co-chaired the college’s "Unleashed 2022”Gala, which raised more than $750,000 for student persistence scholarships.

“It has been an honor to work alongside Columbia’s passionate leaders for more than a decade,” said Holmes, whose appointment was effective July 1. “Columbia plays a vital role in empowering young creatives to shape what’s next. I look forward to building on the progress we have made to ensure Columbia’s bright future.”

Holmes is also active on various other boards, including Economic Club of Chicago, Executives Club of Chicago, Shedd Aquarium, Lincoln Park Zoo, Chicago Symphony Orchestra, and the Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago Foundation. Prior to joining AAR CORP., Holmes worked in investment banking and private equity. He earned a bachelor’s degree in finance from the University of Illinois and an MBA from the University of Chicago.

Holmes succeeds Chicago venture capitalist Bill Wolf, who had served as Columbia Chair since 2016. Under Wolf’s leadership, the college built the 114,000-square-foot Student Center, which opened in 2019.

“We are grateful for Bill’s leadership as Board Chair. He was a key partner in navigating such challenges as the COVID-19 pandemic and positioning the college for the future,” said Kwang-Wu Kim, Columbia’s President and CEO. “John is a proven leader who cares deeply about the success of Columbia and its students. He is a worthy successor to carry on Bill’s legacy as Board Chair and build upon the foundation Bill helped create.”

Members of the Board of Trustees are dedicated supporters of Columbia College Chicago with professional expertise in fields such as business, finance, law, communications, the arts, and entertainment. Each trustee is elected to a renewable three-year term. For a list of current Board members, click here.