FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
January 17, 2008
Contact: Jennifer M. Guild, Senior Officer for Public Relations and Marketing
Tel: (804) 342-9665 | Email:
VHS Names Teachers Institute after Claiborne Robins
Annual Summer History Program Named in Honor of the Outgoing Chairman of the Board
Richmond, VA – On November 14, 2007, the 2007 members of the Virginia Historical Society (VHS) Board of Trustees attended the last meeting of the year. During the annual trustees dinner that evening, VHS President and CEO Charles F. Bryan, Jr., announced that beginning in 2008, the annual summer teachers institute will be called the E. Claiborne Robins, Jr., Teachers Institute.
"Claiborne Robins has always supported the educational mission of this institution," Bryan said. "He recognizes the value of teaching others to teach, so it is fitting that this adult education program is named in his honor."
Since its inception in 1994, 285 educators from across the Commonwealth have participated in a VHS teachers institute. Each year, the week-long program focuses on history topics related to a current exhibition on display at the Society. Sixteen to twenty teachers come to VHS headquarters in Richmond in June to participate in lectures, discussion sessions, tours, lesson plan exercises, and to attend educational fieldtrips. Thanks to a grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities, the VHS offers all teachers institute programs free of charge.
"The enthusiasm of the teachers and the quality of the presenters each year makes having the teachers institutes worthwhile," said William Obrochta, Director of Education at the VHS.
Under Robins's leadership as board chairman, the Society enjoyed a record fundraising year in 2006, formed a search committee for a new CEO, saw a 12% increase in visitation in 2007, and exceeded a $55 million campaign goal that allowed for expanded exhibition, classroom, and office space at the VHS. Robins hands over the reigns to incoming chairman J. Stewart Bryan, III. For the 2008–2009 period, Bryan will continue the three-generation legacy of heading the VHS during critical times of great change. Bryan, also chairman of the Media General Board of Trustees, served on the VHS Board for two years as vice chairman before taking this position. W. Taylor Reveley, III takes over the vice chairman position. Reveley, who will serve a two-year term and then become chairman, is the dean of the Marshall-Wythe School of Law at William and Mary.
Other changes on the Board include the addition of members Edward L. Ayers, Ph.D., Anne Wilson Rowe, and Clifton A. Woodrum. Austin Brockenbrough, III of Manakin-Sabot and Susan S. Goode of Norfolk rotated off of the Society's Board of Trustees in 2007.
Ayers is a nationally recognized author and educator, and is one of the nation's leading scholars on the history of the American South. In July 2007, Ayers became the ninth president of the University of Richmond, leaving his position as Dean of Arts and Sciences and Professor of History at the University of Virginia. He is a graduate of the University of Tennessee and earned his Ph.D. in American Studies from Yale University. Ayers and wife Abby are the parents of two children.
Rowe, a Fredericksburg, Va. resident, is a founding director of the Central Virginia Battlefields Trust and the Community Foundation of the Rappahannock Region. She has served on the boards of the Fredericksburg Area Museum, the Historic Fredericksburg Foundation, the Kenmore Association, and the Mary Washington branch of the Association for the Preservation of Virginia Antiquities. Rowe is a past board member of the Garden Club of Virginia, the Rappahannock Chapter of the American Red Cross, and the Mary Washington Hospital Foundation. The Mary Washington College graduate currently is a director of Sweet Briar College and serves on the board of the Central Rappahannock Heritage Center. Rowe is married to Josiah R. Rowe, III and is the mother of four.
Woodrum is a University of North Carolina and University of Virginia graduate who lives in Roanoke, Va. He has been engaged in the general practice of law since 1964 and served in the Virginia House of Delegates from 1980–2004. Among others, Woodrum was chairman of the Virginia State Crime Commission in the mid-1990s, was chair and vice chair of the Electric Utility Deregulation Study Committee when he was on the board from 1996–1999, and was chairman of the Commission on Freedom of Information Act in 1998. Since 2004, Woodrum has served on the board of the Library of Virginia and the Virginia Coalition for Open Government, and joined the HomeTown Bank board in 2005. Over his lifetime, Woodrum has won many awards, most recently the McCain Memorial Award in 2006 from the American College of Obstetrics & Gynecology. Woodrum's family includes his wife, Emily Abbitt, and two daughters and a son.
"This is a very exciting time for the VHS," Charles Bryan said. "These great additions to the Board will make it even stronger as the Society begins a new chapter of its own history."
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