President of Thomas Jefferson Foundation announces upcoming departure
ALBEMARLE COUNTY, Va. (CBS19 NEWS) -- The Thomas Jefferson Foundation will soon be looking for a new leader.
On Tuesday, Leslie Greene Bowman announced she will be leaving the post as of April 30.
She has been the president of the foundation for nearly 15 years, during which time, there have been several projects modernizing digital and physical platforms, addressing slavery, restoration work, and more.
“Leslie’s efforts ensured that Monticello’s 21st-century reach is as expansive as Jefferson’s vision,” said Melody Barnes, former chair of the Thomas Jefferson Foundation Board of Trustees. “Because of her dedication, Monticello plays an active role in bringing the past forward and contributing to today’s essential contemporary debates about freedom, religious liberty, education, and more.”
For example, the Getting Word African American Oral History Project is now connected to nearly 1,000 descendants.
"I have had the privilege to be a steward of one of the world’s most precious places, both a World Heritage Site for its expression of human creative genius, and an International Site of Conscience for its painful history with slavery,” Bowman said. “In these past fifteen years, with the shared dedication and brilliance of colleagues, trustees, and donors, we have returned Monticello as closely as we could to Jefferson’s vision and creation, and restored lost places, voices and stories. It has been the greatest honor of my career; I will cherish the work and those alongside me who made it possible. I step down with certainty that Monticello’s finest days lie ahead, proud that I could play a small part.”
There has been major work restoring the upper floors of Monticello and Mulberry Row, granting visitors new spaces to tour and access to stories of the enslaved.
Facilities on Montalto have been renovated as well and international programs expanded, giving people from around the world more chances to attend events and conferences at the historical location.
According to a release, the foundation has now purchased Jefferson Vineyards, expanding on a commitment to agriculture, agritourism and Jefferson’s role in founding the wine industry in what would become the United States.
Gardiner Hallock has been appointed the interim president and the foundation’s Board of Trustees is beginning a search for a permanent replacement.