The Civil War Trust
Our May program brings to the Augusta Roundtable two of the most important figures in the national initiative to preserve and expand the protection of Civil War Battlefields.
John L. Nau III of Houston is the chairman emeritus of The Civil War Trust and Jim Lighthizer is the president of the Trust.
The Civil War Trust is America's largest non-profit organization (501-C3) devoted to the preservation of our nation's endangered Civil War battlefields. The Trust also promotes educational programs and heritage tourism initiatives to inform the public of the war's history and the fundamental conflicts that sparked it.
I had the pleasure of serving with John L. Nau III on the Advisory Council for Historic Preservation. Both of us were appointed by President George W. Bush. Our collaboration led to creation of the White Houses Preserve America program, chaired by First Lady Laura Bush.
Johns passion for preservation and philanthropy are well-known across the country. His current involvement includes Vice Chairman of the National Park Foundation Board of Directors, Civil War Trust Board of Directors and Chairman Emeritus, Baylor College of Medicine Board of Trustees, Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History Board of Trustees, Honorary Trustee of the Greater Houston Convention & Visitors Bureau, Honorary Trustee of The Texas Heart Institute, Honorary State Trustee of San Antonio Parks Foundation, Director and Executive Committee member of the Greater Houston Partnership and Advisory Council member to the Center for Big Bend Studies. He also serves as a Board Member for the Center for Houstons Future, Discovery Green Conservancy in Houston, Friends of the Texas Historical Commission, Friends of Vicksburg National Military Park, Houston Police Foundation, The Admiral Nimitz Foundation, and the Texas State Historical Association. Additionally, he is Chairman of the Capital Campaign for The Center for Texas Cultural Heritage and Chairman of the Steering Committee for the proposed Lone Star Coastal National Recreation Area. He is founder and President of The Nau Foundation.
He is a graduate of the University of Virginia, where he earned a Bachelor of Arts in History and currently serves on the Board of Visitors, a position appointed by the Governor of the Commonwealth of Virginia. He also serves as Vice Chairman and on the Executive Committee for the University of Virginia Capital Campaign.
When not engaged in preservation activities, John sells beer. He is President and Chief Executive Officer of Silver Eagle Distributors, L.P., the nations largest distributor of Anheuser-Busch products, a position he has held since 1990. Silver Eagle employs more than 1,200 employees and serves more than 13,000 accounts throughout 16 counties in Texas through operations in Houston, San Antonio, Conroe, Cypress and Rosenberg.
John and wife, Bobbie, reside in Houston, Texas. Their family includes two daughters, their husbands and five grandchildren.
Jim Lighthizer brings a proactive spirit and deep commitment to Civil War battlefield preservation to his position as President of the Civil War Preservation Trust, a non-profit organization whose mission is to protect significant Civil War battlefield land and to educate the public about the roles those lands played in shaping the course of the Nations history. To date, the CWPT has saved over 25,000 acres of Civil War battlefield land in 19 states. It is the leading Civil War land preservation organization in the United States.
Jims years of public service began in 1979 when he was elected to the Maryland State Legislature. In 1982, he was elected to the first of two terms as Anne Arundel County Executive, where he successfully managed a full-service budget in excess of $800 million. During his tenure as county executive, he established a county farmland protection program preserving over 2,500 acres. He also embarked on an aggressive waterfront park acquisition effort resulting in the purchase of over 900 acres and 7 miles of waterfront in the county. In 1986, he was reelected, with 80 percent of the vote.
In 1991, Jim was appointed as Marylands Secretary of Transportation. Jim created an unprecedented program that to date has saved more than 4,500 acres of Civil War battlefield land in Maryland and is the national model for the use of Transportation Enhancement funds for battlefield preservation. During his term as Chairman of the Governors Greenways Committee in Maryland, Jim created Greenways throughout Maryland.
In December 1999, Jim accepted the presidency of the Civil War Preservation Trust, a new organization created by the merger of two other national battlefield preservation groups, the Civil War Trust and the Association for the Preservation of Civil War Sites. Jim had previously served as a member of the Civil War Trusts Board of Trustees.
Jim took the reins at the Civil War Preservation Trust in November 1999. During his tenure as President of the Trust, the group has saved an additional 18,000 acres, and now boasts 55,000 members nationwide. Jim was also the architect of the rescue of the Slaughter Pen Farm on the Fredericksburg Battlefield the most expensive private battlefield preservation effort in American history.
According to Linda Wheeler in a January 2003 Washington Post article: Jim Lighthizer knows about saving battlefields. As president of the Civil War Preservation Trust, he is devoted to the cause and has learned that a passion for history is not enough.
In an April 2005 National Geographic article, Adam Goodheart wrote: If the romantic and perhaps doomed cause of saving America's Civil War battlefields can be said to have its own Robert E. Leea strategist who time and again snatched victory from the jaws of defeathe is a man named James Lighthizer.
The Civil War Roundtable of Augusta is pleased to welcome Jim and John to our May meeting for an update on the nations battlefield preservation programs.
(information from Wikipedia and CWT websites was used in this article)