Bytes Over Bites: Perri L. Irmer, President and CEO of The DuSable Museum




Kaplan Institute 3137 South Federal Street Chicago, Illinois 60616

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Perri Irmer

Join us for Bytes over Bites, a lunch series at Illinois Tech’s Kaplan Institute. This monthly event will offer you the chance to connect with thought leaders in open discussions around emerging ideas and career pathways in their industry. Guests will range from entrepreneurs, faculty members, investors, to innovators. Each event will start with a brief intro and move into an intimate conversation. We’ll supply lunch and leave the networking to you!

All are welcome. Space is limited to 15 people per week, so don’t miss your chance to sign up!

Note: If you have registered and changed your mind, please cancel your ticket so others may sign up.


Perri Irmer is president and CEO of The DuSable Black History Museum and Education Center, the iconic institution founded in 1961 by Margaret Burroughs. It is one of the oldest institutions of its kind in the United States. She has held this position since September 2015, and her plans for the DuSable include advancing Burroughs' vision of the museum as a center for African and African American arts and culture, as well as a center for research, thought leadership and community advancement. Irmer was born and raised in Hyde Park, holds a Bachelor of Architecture from the Illinois Institute of Technology (1981), and a J.D. from the University of Chicago Law School (1991).

Irmer began her architecture career with Skidmore, Owings, and Merrill, and later practiced with Holabird & Root. She then moved into the commercial real estate and construction management fields before pursuing a legal career. Irmer was a litigator in private law practice before enjoying a distinguished tenure in government, having served as the CEO of the Illinois Sports Facilities Authority; assistant general counsel for Chicago Public Schools; deputy commissioner of the City of Chicago Department of Buildings; and director of construction services for the Public Building Commission of Chicago. As a private sector real estate professional, Irmer served as a vice president of Merchandise Mart Properties, Inc., and as senior vice president of Mesirow Financial. To date, Irmer has administered well over $6 billion in public and private construction projects. She has a strong track record of effective team building and community advocacy.

Irmer serves as president of Museums in the Park and sits on both The Obama Presidential Center Inclusion Council and the After School Matters Advisory Board. In addition, she serves on Illinois Tech’s Alumni Board of Directors’ Admissions and International Committees and was a founding member of its African American Alumni Association. Irmer is a member of the Economic Club and the Commercial Club of Chicago as well as The Chicago Network. She has served on the boards of many civic and charitable organizations, including Choose Chicago and the Catholic Theological Union, and was a founding member of the Chicago Sports Commission. Irmer is the recipient of numerous awards and honors for her involvement in community and youth services, as well as her long standing support and advocacy of minority and women-owned businesses and her promotion of international business relationships within Illinois. In June 2021, Irmer received France’s highest honor in arts - The Order of Arts and Letters for museum programs highlighting the relationship between African Americans and the French. She has three adult daughters and four grandchildren, all of whom reside in Chicago.

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