Letter from the President
A Banner Year
By Charles F. Bryan, Jr., President and Chief Executive Officer
As we end our 175th anniversary year, I hope all of you have had a chance to participate in this wonderful time of achievement and celebration. We began with a special issue of the Virginia Magazine of History and Biography presenting a new history of the VHS written by noted historian and former trustee Melvin I. Urofsky. In March we opened our stunning new auditorium, the Robins Family Forum. In July we dedicated the whole new wing with a day-long open house. In addition to the Forum, the Carole M. and Marcus M. Weinstein Classroom, new offices, and vast new storage spaces, the building also houses a spectacular long-term exhibition. Virginians at Work illustrates the myriad occupations Virginians have pursued over the course of four centuries.
As you know from the summer issue of History Notes, I was honored when the board of trustees named the new wing for me. I repeat here what I wrote then: although the new wing bears my name, I accept the honor on behalf of my colleagues here at the VHS with whom I have the privilege to work and who made it all possible.
In October we hosted one of the most inspiring programs the VHS has ever produced, the symposium called “Virginians in the White House: The Presidency from Washington to Wilson.” The keynote address was the annual J. Harvie Wilkinson, Jr., Lecture, which featured historian David McCullough speaking at First Baptist Church. It was a tribute to him and to the VHS that you, the members, filled the church to overflowing. Mr. McCullough very graciously stated that of the thousands of historical societies in America, the VHS is “one of the best”—high praise, indeed, from the nation’s most popular historian.
Our anniversary year now draws to a close. The trustees lecture on November 15 by Mel Urofsky reminded us how far we’ve come in 175 years. But there is one item of unfinished business. We have not yet reached the $55-million goal for our capital campaign. That will be the crowning achievement, and I ask you once again, as I’ve done many times before, to be generous when you make your year-end gift to the VHS.
Posted November 2006
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