Deborah Sommers, an arts management professional with more than 20 years experience at university performing arts centers in the New York metropolitan area, has been named executive director of the Modlin Center for the Arts at the University of Richmond, effective July 1.

At the Modlin Center, she will be responsible for the 45-event Great Performances Series, three main stage productions by the university’s theatre and dance department and the University Players and Dancers, 30 musical performances in the Department of Music’s Free Concert Series, plus community events and performances throughout the year.

Sommers also will direct and teach Richmond’s arts management program and work with faculty across the disciplines to design academic components that coordinate with the Modlin Center’s artistic programming.

Director of programming at Fairfield University’s Quick Center for the Arts since 1992, Sommers produces an 80-event season of national and international artists that attracts patrons from across the New York area. She also leads a K-12 outreach program touching 14,000 students with long- and short-term artist residencies in public schools, supervises an internship program for university students, and oversees a children’s theatre summer camp and adult summer festival chorus.

Before joining the Quick Center, Sommers was company administrator of the Performing Arts Center at the State University of New York at Purchase, coordinating the professional season programming, artists and residencies. She also worked for the PepsiCo Summerfare Festival.

A graduate of Hunter College with a bachelor’s degree in music and education, Sommers subsequently earned both an M.B.A. and doctor of jurisprudence from Pace University. She is admitted to the New York and Connecticut bars and has sat on several boards and committees, including the United Nations Development Fund for Women USA-Connecticut Chapter, Fairfield Arts Council and Connecticut Dance Alliance.

“Deborah Sommers brings an outstanding intellectual and artistic vision as well as savvy business and legal acumen to the Modlin Center,” said Andrew F. Newcomb, dean of Richmond’s School of Arts and Sciences.

“With a background in music, vast experience working for university performing arts centers and an MBA and law degree to boot, she is especially qualified to move the Modlin Center forward, continuing a 14-year tradition of bringing world-class performing arts events to the greater Richmond community,” Newcomb said.

Sommers said she has been struck by the vibrancy of the cultural environment at Richmond and the quality and selection of the Modlin Center’s programs.

“In the performing arts industry, the Modlin Center is highly regarded,” she said. “I inherit an extraordinary artistic legacy from the previous director who, created a quality series that enhanced both the university’s and the city’s cultural life.”