A Letter from Our Gala Co-Chairs:
It is our honor to serve as the 2017 Hermitage Gala Co-Chairs, and to partner with such a worthy organization. Andrew Jackson’s Hermitage is a national historic treasure and a point of local and state pride. Proceeds from this year’s event will help strengthen the Andrew Jackson Foundation’s education and public programming as well as assist the organization with its ongoing preservation and restoration projects.
The Hermitage opened its doors as a presidential site in 1889 and since that time it has continued to be ranked among the finest presidential homes and museums in the country. With each passing decade, the responsibilities of ensuring the future of this non-profit institution and its mission have been carefully bestowed on the next generation. The Gala is an integral component in that safeguarding.
Our dedicated committee has spent many hours creating a fun, one-of-a-kind event for you and your guests. One of Nashville’s signature hotel, the Omni, has been selected as the ideal venue for our festivities. It will be a magical evening of music, select silent auction, fine dining, stimulating remarks from our keynote Steve Inskeep, and since 2017 marks the 250th birthday of President Andrew Jackson, the evening will include delicious birthday cake for all created by the Omni culinary staff. The pinnacle of the night will be the presentation of the prestigious Jackson Award. Governor Bill Haslam will join the honor roll of esteemed leaders who have accepted the award as the 2017 recipient. We look forward to seeing you at the Gala! Thank you for your support.
About Our Honorees
Jackson Award Recipient: Governor Bill Haslam
In 2014, Bill Haslam was re-elected Tennessee’s governor with the largest victory in modern Tennessee history.
Under his leadership, Tennessee is recognized as a national leader in education, economic development, efficient government and fiscal strength.
Since 2011, Tennessee students have been the fastest improving in the country in academic achievement. High school graduation rates are at an all-time high, and Tennessee is the first state in the nation to offer high school graduates and adults two years of community or technical college free of tuition and mandatory fees.
Just four years into the governor’s Drive to 55 initiative to increase the number of Tennesseans with a postsecondary degree or certificate to 55 percent by 2025, more Tennesseans are going to college and fewer need remediation when they get there.
More than 378,000 private sector jobs have been created since Governor Haslam took office in 2011 and, earlier this year, Tennessee’s unemployment rate reached the lowest level in state history. Tennessee has been ranked No. 1 for advanced industry job growth, No. 1 for jobs created through foreign direct investment, and is a three-time winner of “State of the Year” for economic development by Business Facilities magazine.
The governor worked with the Tennessee General Assembly in 2017 to pass the largest tax cut in Tennessee history while delivering a safe, reliable and debt-free transportation system. He and his administration have cut more than $500 million in recurring spending, shrunk state government by 10 percent, balanced the budget every year, ensured Tennessee has the lowest debt in the country and more than doubled the state’s savings account. For only the second time in state history, Tennessee has been awarded a triple AAA bond rating.
Governor Haslam and his wife, Crissy, have been married for 36 years and are blessed with three children and seven grandchildren.
Lewis R. Donelson Award Recipient: George & Ophelia Paine
A native Nashvillian, Ophelia T. Paine was fortunate to grow up in a family with roots in the city going back to a Revolutionary War land grant and a love, as her mother once said, of “anything old” – old books, old buildings, old stories. She has spent most of her professional life working in the fields of education and preservation, especially with her ancestral home, Glen Leven.
From 1986-1998, she worked for the Metropolitan Historical Commission of Nashville, coordinating the annual Architectural Awards program and writing grants for public history projects as well as publications on local history. She also served as a member of the Planning Committee for the annual African American Culture and History Conference, co-sponsored by the Historical Commission, TSU, and Fisk University.
From 1998-2008, while teaching and counseling at The Harpeth Hall School, she oversaw the creation of a four-panel permanent exhibit on the history of the school and established a student exchange program with the Maison d’Education de la Légion d’Honneur, an all-girls school in Paris. After retiring, she continued to volunteer for the School and served as a content editor for ALL-GIRLS EDUCATION from WARD SEMINARY TO HARPETH HALL, 1865-2015.
In addition to volunteering for Christ Church Cathedral, she has served on the boards of the Tennessee Historical Society, Humanities Tennessee, and was the first “working” regent of the Ladies Hermitage Association, now the Andrew Jackson Foundation; and most recently the Land Trust for Tennessee. In 2007, she was appointed by the governor to the Tennessee Historical Commission, serving five years and currently serves on the Tennessee Historical Commission Foundation.
Ophelia’s love of history and legacy are evident in her ongoing involvement with the Hermitage and the Land Trust’s Glen Leven Farm As regent of the Hermitage, she worked to diversify the board and establish the first National Advisory Council, and she “encouraged” George to join the board after she left! She continues, along with George, to support development efforts at the Hermitage and to introduce friends and out-of-town visitors to the site. At Glen Leven, she volunteers as a researcher, tour guide, and educator and recently published, A Family Story, a history of Glen Leven and the Thompson family.
Judge George C. Paine spent thirty-one years as a Federal Bankruptcy Judge for the Middle District of Tennessee and twenty-eight years as chief judge. An Army veteran, he served as an infantry platoon leader in Vietnam, where he was wounded and decorated for bravery.
While a judge, he served as president of the National Conference of Bankruptcy Judges and vice president of the American Bankruptcy Institute. Keenly interested in international matters, he worked extensively in Bulgaria, Macedonia, Slovenia, Russia, Romania, China, and Croatia with their commercial law court judges; and, he and Ophelia spent almost three months in Croatia where he consulted with the commercial law courts. They subsequently hosted numerous Croatian judges in their home so the judges could observe the American legal system and experience American society and culture.
George was active in the Nashville Committee on Foreign Relations (president), the American Committees on Foreign Relations (president), the International Insolvency Institute, and the Council on Foreign Relations. He was appointed by Chief Justices Rhenquist and Roberts to consecutive terms on the International Judicial Relations Committee of the federal judiciary.
George and Ophelia have two sons, Carter, the COO of naviHealth whose wife, Kristin, works at Cheekwood; and, Thompson, vice president of operations and business development for an educational software company in San Francisco, whose wife Georgia is with Google. Fortunately their two grandchildren, Palmer (6) and Fite (4) live in Nashville and are readily accessible to them.