FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
May 21, 2008
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Paul Levengood Elected to Follow
Retiring Virginia Historical Society Chief Charles Bryan
Richmond, VA – After a nationwide search spanning nine months, the Virginia Historical Society (VHS) has turned within to find its leader for the future. The Historical Society's Board of Trustees today unanimously elected Dr. Paul A. Levengood to succeed longtime President and Chief Executive Officer Dr. Charles F. Bryan, Jr., in November.
Dr. Levengood joined the Historical Society staff in 2000, and currently serves as the managing editor of the Virginia Magazine of History and Biography and as the program coordinator of the Reynolds Business History Center. He received his undergraduate degree from Davidson College, and his M.A. and Ph.D., all in history, from Rice University.
Dr. Bryan, who has led the Historical Society for 20 years, last year announced his plans to retire late in 2008. He will remain as president, working closely with Dr. Levengood, until the November 19 meeting of the board of trustees. Dr. Levengood will relinquish his current duties on June 1, and become president-elect and CEO-elect. On November 20, Levengood will become the fourteenth leader of the VHS.
"The Virginia Historical Society is one of the country's preeminent historical institutions," said board chairman J. Stewart Bryan, III (no relation to Charles Bryan), "and it is known for its strong leadership under Charlie and his senior management team. One of his contributions to us was the help he gave us early in the search to determine his successor. And much to our delight, to find the right person 'within the family,' after an extensive search, is an indication of our institution's strength."
"We are blessed with an exceptional staff," noted Charles Bryan, "and from the day he joined us eight years ago, Paul stood out as someone who had great leadership potential. I am excited about his appointment, and I have no doubt that the Historical Society will strengthen its position as one of the nation's most respected historical institutions during his tenure."
Terry Davis, president and CEO of the American Association for State and Local History, hailed the selection of Dr. Levengood. "Paul offers the people of Virginia the best of both worlds," she said, "a solidly trained academic historian who understands the importance of sharing history with the broad general public. In addition to his credentials as a scholar, he stood out as a shining star among his colleagues at the 2007 Seminar for Historical Administration, the nationally acclaimed leadership program for museum professionals. There he clearly demonstrated the skills and background needed to successfully lead the Virginia Historical Society."
Upon his election, Levengood said "It is an incredible honor to be selected, and I thank the board for entrusting me with the responsibility of leading this great institution. In my eight years here, I have grown to love the Virginia Historical Society and its people, and I have a deep commitment to its mission. Along with my colleagues, I look forward to devoting my energy and enthusiasm to continue the remarkable growth we have experienced in the past two decades."
The search committee, headed by former board chairman Austin Brockenbrough, III, consisted of Historical Society trustees Nancy H. Gottwald (co-chair); John R. Nelson; Helen Turner Murphy; William Thalhimer, III; F. Blair Wimbush; and former board chairman and governor of Virginia Gerald Baliles. Ex-officio members of the committee included J. Stewart Bryan, III and W. Taylor Reveley, III, and the staff liaison was Director of Library Services Frances S. Pollard.
"Our search was thorough and exhaustive," Brockenbrough commented, "and our recommendation was unanimous."
The Virginia Historical Society is located at 428 N. Boulevard. The Story of Virginia, An American Experience, a 10,000-square-foot exhibition with more than a thousand objects covering all of Virginia history from prehistoric
times to the present is featured in the Robins Center for Virginia History. Hours: Monday-Saturday 10am - 5pm
and Sunday 1pm - 5pm (Museum Galleries and Shop only). Admission: $5/adults, $4/seniors 55+ ($2/Tuesdays–galleries
only), $3/children and students, free/members. Admission to the galleries is free on Sundays. For group tour
information, call (804) 342-9652. For more information, please call (804) 358-4901 or visit