Wagner said she left the job Wednesday, and that Susan Swanson will take the helm of Business Partners, the Chamber for Uptown. Swanson was not reachable for comment Wednesday.
Wagner started at the chamber in January 2012 as associate director, and worked under then-executive director Paula Barrington before Barrington departed for a job in west suburban Wheaton to run the pro-business Downtown Wheaton Association.
Wagner took over in January of this year. She said she originally applied to Columbia College's non-fiction Masters in Fine Arts creative writing program in 2011 just before starting at the chamber and was accepted in spring 2012 — but deferred enrollment after getting hired as assistant director. But she was recently awarded the Follett Graduate Merit Award from Columbia and that "was the deciding factor" in her decision to leave the chamber, Wagner said.
Wagner said in an email that, "in the end I decided that I could not turn down the scholarship and, knowing the requirement for the scholarship is full-time, I had to make a decision between this excellent job and the opportunity to continue my pursuits in higher education."
"I love Uptown and know that it is a neighborhood that will continue to grow and change while embracing its many and diverse residents and businesses," Wagner wrote. "I have come to feel I am a part of this community and will certainly miss seeing my colleagues, and, dare say friends, on such a regular basis."
Wagner, a partner at Intrinsic Books, also works as a freelance researcher, editor and writer. She holds a bachelor's degree in art history and religion from Lake Forest College, a master's degree in English literature and critical theory focused on gender and race studies from Cambridge University's International Summer School, and a master's degree in Interdisciplinary Studies at DePaul University.