New Lincoln Park Zoo President Megan Ross with the zoo's current president, Kevin Bell. (Lisa Miller photo)

Evanston resident Megan Ross has been named the new president and CEO of Chicago’s Lincoln Park Zoo.

Ross, who’s currently director of the zoo, is succeeding Kevin J. Bell, who’s led the zoo for the past quarter century and will retire at the end of the year.

She holds a Ph.D. in psychology from the Georgia Institute of Technology where her dissertation focused on the effect of ultraviolet light on bird behavior and joined the zoo as its curator of birds in 2000.

“Dr. Ross is committed to the very highest standards of animal care and to ensuring zoos continue to build a strong future as conservation organizations,” Bell said. “I am thrilled she has accepted this role right here at home.”

“I love the learning opportunities that a zoo provides,” Ross said. “We’re opening a door to nature and bringing children and families in to enjoy it, learn from it, and see their place in the natural world.”

“Knowing both Kevin Bell and Dr. Ross on a personal and professional level has been extremely humbling,” said former Zoo Director Dr. Lester Fisher. “I was a zoo vet, Kevin built on that to improve education and conservation, and Dr. Ross will take the zoo to the next level by bringing a scientific approach to all aspects of the zoo.”

A historic Chicago landmark founded in 1868, the not-for-profit Lincoln Park Zoo is a privately-managed, member-supported organization and is free and open 365 days a year.