NPR journalist and author Steve Inskeep will deliver the keynote address at the Omni Hotel. Presidential historian and Pulitzer Prize-winning author Jon Meacham will serve as master of ceremonies for the evening.
“It is an honor each year to recognize individuals who make such a positive impact in Tennessee. Gov. Haslam is a role model for what a thoughtful, steady leader can accomplish, and the Paines’ dedication as advocates for education and historic preservation is an inspiration. Each of these distinguished recipients reflects the best of Andrew Jackson’s legacy for strong leadership, and we are delighted to recognize their contributions with these awards,” said Howard J. Kittell, president and CEO of the Andrew Jackson Foundation.
Haslam will receive the Jackson Award, named for the seventh president and presented to those whose leadership and courageous convictions have enhanced the lives of Tennesseans and brought benefit and honor to the body politic.
Past recipients of the Jackson Award include former Gov. Phil Bredesen, former U.S. Sen. Jim Webb, Jim Lehrer, former U.S. Sen. Fred D. Thompson, Martha Rivers Ingram and U.S. Sen. Bob Corker.
The Paines will receive the Lewis R. Donelson Award, given to a leader who has supported the Hermitage and its preservation efforts or has brought honor and recognition to Jackson, his era and his legacy. Donelson, a prominent lawyer and public servant in Tennessee, is the grandson of Andrew Jackson Donelson, the nephew and personal secretary of President Jackson.
Past recipients of the Lewis R. Donelson Award include U.S. Sen. Lamar Alexander, Meacham, former U.S. Sen. Howard H. Baker, John Seigenthaler, former Gov. Ned Ray McWherter, Marianne Byrd and Sarah Knestrick.
A reception will be held at the home of Lyn and Steve Cates on Oct. 26 to honor the Gala’s patrons and benefactors.
The Hermitage Gala is a black-tie affair that serves as the foundation’s premier fundraising event. Co-chairs for the evening are Laura Niewold and Lisa Manning. All Gala proceeds benefit the education and preservation programs of the Andrew Jackson Foundation. Support of this Nashville tradition will increase the foundation’s capacity to serve schools and community members of all ages who come to learn about Andrew Jackson’s impact on the development of American democracy.
Haslam is the 49th governor of Tennessee. Under his leadership, Tennessee is recognized as a national leader in education, economic development, efficient government and fiscal strength. Since 2011, Tennessee students were 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. Since Haslam took office in 2011, more than 392,400 net new private-sector jobs were created in Tennessee, and earlier this year, Tennessee’s unemployment rate reached the lowest level in state history. In 2003, Haslam ran successfully for mayor of Knoxville and was re-elected in 2007.
From 1986 to 1998, Ophelia T. Paine worked for the Metropolitan Historical Commission of Nashville, coordinating the annual Architectural Awards program and writing public history project grants and publications on local history. From 1998 to 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. In addition to volunteering for Christ Church Cathedral, she has served on the boards of the Tennessee Historical Society, Humanities Tennessee and most recently the Land Trust for Tennessee and was the first “working” regent of the Ladies’ Hermitage Association. 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.
Judge George C. Paine served as a federal bankruptcy judge for the Middle District of Tennessee for 31 years, of which 28 were spent as chief judge. An Army veteran, he served as an infantry platoon leader in Vietnam. While a judge, he served as president of the National Conference of Bankruptcy Judges and vice president of the American Bankruptcy Institute. He was active in the Nashville Committee on Foreign Relations, the American Committees on Foreign Relations, the International Insolvency Institute and the Council on Foreign Relations. He was appointed by Chief Justices William Rehnquist and John Roberts to consecutive terms on the International Judicial Relations Committee of the federal judiciary. George Paine served as regent of the Ladies’ Hermitage Association during 2011 and 2012. He is still highly involved with the foundation and serves as a member of the organization’s development committee. He is also involved with Christ Church Cathedral and The Legion Fund.
Inskeep is a cohost of NPR’s “Morning Edition,” the most widely heard radio news program in the United States. His investigative journalism has received an Edward R. Murrow Award, a Robert F. Kennedy Journalism Award and an Alfred I. duPont–Columbia University Award. Inskeep is the author of “Instant City: Life and Death in Karachi” and “Jacksonland,” and he has been a guest on numerous TV programs, including ABC’s “This Week,” NBC’s “Meet the Press,” MSNBC’s “Andrea Mitchell Reports,” CNN’s “Inside Politics” and PBS’ “Newshour.” He has written for publications, including The New York Times, Washington Post, the Wall Street Journal and The Atlantic. A native of Carmel, Indiana, Inskeep is a graduate of Morehead State University in Kentucky.
Andrew Jackson’s Hermitage: Home of the People’s President is one of the largest and most visited presidential homes in the United States. Opened as a museum in 1889, it is one of the nation’s oldest presidential sites, drawing more than 192,000 visitors each year. The Hermitage is a 1,120-acre National Historic Landmark with 27 restored buildings, 12 dating to Jackson’s ownership, including his 1836 mansion and tomb, slave cabins, garden and the church he had constructed for his beloved wife, Rachel. In the Andrew Jackson Visitor Center, guests can experience Andrew Jackson: Born for a Storm, an interactive exhibit about the life and impact of the seventh president on the history of the United States. For more information, visit thehermitage.com.