Walking down Lexington Avenue in New York recently, John S. Winkleman ‘77 noticed a familiar piece of art hanging in a storefront window. Looking more closely, he recognized it as one of his sketches.
The pen-and-ink drawing was part of a series Winkleman created for Our Town, a community newspaper covering the East Side of the city. The art accompanied profiles of longstanding family-run businesses. At a reception to celebrate the paper’s 45th anniversary, held at Mount Sinai Hospital, where Winkleman is a trustee, the art was displayed and then presented — signed by the artist — to the business owners.
On his blog, Winkleman describes himself as a “habitual illustrator.” For years, his artwork accompanied the “Crime Watch” column for the Our Town group of neighborhood newspapers that cover different areas of the city. His work has been in Tiffany & Company’s windows and also in two children’s books, “Firehouse” and “Police Patrol,” written by his wife, Katherine ’83.
He has drawn practically all of the buildings on Clark’s campus. Those drawings are now housed in the University’s Archives and Special Collections.
For his senior thesis at Clark, Winkleman opened and operated the first art gallery on campus, in what was then called Little Commons. He also worked closely with art professor Donald Krueger and trustee Mary H. Melville to move the art studios from the first floor of Jefferson Hall to Little Commons. Following graduation, he stayed on for a year as a Presidential Fellow, assisting the university with the selection of the sculptor and siting of the Robert Goddard memorial in Atwood Plaza.
After a few years in New York City, where he was director of the Greenwich House Music School, he returned to campus to serve as the executive assistant to Presidents Mortimer Appley and Richard P. Traina and the Board of Trustees. He particularly enjoyed working with longtime trustee Alice Higgins, whom he considers a mentor. “She was one of a kind — absolutely remarkable. She really understood students and defused many a crisis during her tenure,” he says.
Winkleman also helped plan the Robert Goddard Centennial celebration, raising money for fellowships, and assisted with organizing the University’s own 100-year anniversary celebration. He participated in the planning of the Sackler Sciences Center and served on the committee that chose Traina to succeed Appley as president.
When he’s not drawing, Winkleman is a full-time member of the faculty at Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health, where he teaches marketing and directs the School’s HealthSquare Simulation (the country’s only hospital simulation program) and The Consulting Workshop. His students fix poorly designed marketing campaigns or create “off the wall marketing” plans of their own. The Consulting Workshop program, which bridges theory and practice, allows students to examine and fashion solutions for real-world problems.
The hospital simulation model serves as a capstone for graduate students as well as a program for senior managers in hospitals across the country. Over two and a half days, individual groups have the opportunity to experience the challenges of executive leadership and strategic decision making of a competitive multi-hospital marketplace.
Winkleman is also the founder of Winkleman Company, a public relations and marketing firm. The bulk of its work is with not-for-profits handling anything from branding to crisis control for organizations in fields as varied as elder care, behavioral health and culture. “It’s been a joy,” he says.