March 24, 2012

Gibbes Museum

MARCH 20, 2012 -- Our speaker of the day was Angela Mack, Executive Director and Curator of the Gibbs Museum of Art since 2008. She has an undergraduate degree in art from Vanderbilt University and has done graduate work at the University of Virginia, Tulane, and NYU. She is an author, a lecturer and an expert in museum management.

The Gibbs Museum was completed in 1905, the result of a $100,000 gift to the city to create it. The period from 1880 to 1930 was the age of building museums across the country, including our own Gibbs Museum, which due in part to its longevity has a collection of over 100,000 paintings and art objects.

Angela proudly told us that even with the recession of the past three years, the museum has been in the black. It annually hosts 47,000 visitors, 27,000 of whom are from out of town, presents 54 exhibitions, teaches 10,000 kids, 200 teachers and has 8 interns.

The museum is currently preparing architectural plans for a major addition to the building that will provide more exhibit space and improved storage for the collection. It will appropriately take the museum into the 21st Century with its design and vision.

In answer to the question, "why spend money on art", she noted that art over the years has provided insight into the lives and cultures of the past, including the place of industry, social changes and wars. Although only 1% of the collection can be seen at any one time, Angela showed us a wonderful cross section of paintings that are at the Gibbs. Charleston is fortunate to both have this wonderful museum and the skills and dedication of Angela Mack.

Reported by Fred Sales, Keyway Committee

March 19, 2012

Thomas outlines how a Georgian promoted the Confederate cause

MARCH 13, 2012 -- On the heels of St. Patrick’s Day, Civil War historian Sam Thomas of Athens, Ga., told members about Thomas Read Rootes Cobb, a leading Georgian who helped codify Georgia law before joining the Confederate cause as an officer.

Thomas told the story of the colorful background of the Cobb family, including the differences between the abstemious Tom Cobb and his older brother Howell, a gregarious politician who served as speaker of the U.S. House (1849-51), governor of Georgia (1851-53) and U.s. Secretary of Treasury (1857-60).

Both brothers were founders of the Confederacy, with Tom Cobb, an intellectual, often quietly advising his more political brother. Tom Cobb, a founder of the University of Georgia’s law school, also wrote a Georgia constitution that included a Bill of Rights, Thomas said, and pushed for Georgia to leave the union before South Carolina, but was unsuccessful. However, his advocacy for session rubbed off on leaders in other states, Thomas said, and was influential in leading S.C. to secede in December 1860.

An ardent secessionist, Tom Cobb served in the Confederate Congress and chaired the committee that drafted the Confederate constitution. “He was one person who could not keep his mouth shut,” said Thomas, who today is curator of the T.R.R. Cobb house and museum in Athens. “He believed he had to have his thumb in everything.”

During the Civil War, Howell Cobb led a brigade of mostly Irish soldiers from Georgia with Tom Cobb as an officer. When his brother was promoted to major general, Tom Cobb was promoted to brigadier general to lead the brigade. He also became an adviser to Gen. Robert E. Lee, Thomas said. During the Battle of Fredericksburg in December 1862, Cobb’s Brigade successfully defended a strategic stone wall by repelling 13 Union frontal charges through a “shock and awe” strategy, Thomas said, that allowed them to provide an almost continuous fire on Union troops. During the battle, Tom Cobb died.

You can learn more about Cobb at the T.R.R. Cobb House Web site:

Submitted by Andy Brack, Keyway Committee

March 9, 2012

The Global Importance of The Port of Charleston

March 6, 2012: William Dunavant III, CEO of privately held Dunavant Enterprises, of Memphis, TN spoke at the Rotary luncheon on Tuesday.

Dunavant is 3rd generation of the Dunavant family to run the mega Cotton trading company. Dunavant Enterprise became the first company to sale U.S. grown cotton to China; making it the largest international cotton trader in the world. Before selling the cotton division to Australia in 2010 the company was trading over $1.2 to $1.7 billion bales of cotton domestically and internationally annually.

Today, Dunavant Enterprise is still a leader in the shipping world, now mainly focusing on logistics and international exports on the East Coast. The company now consists of 4 Division: logistics, distribution, freight, and consulting.

Dunavant stated the factors that made his company so successful were honesty, integrity, and having the know-how. He said that it is time for Americans to bring business back to the United States. Right now, China is our largest competitor. They are out pacing the U.S. in education and they are getting the job done faster.

He emphasized that by deepening the shipping channel at the Port of Charleston to accommodate larger ships our state will be well positioned to compete. Finally Dunavant stated, "It sounds to me like you all are doing it right, and have a plan to get it done."

Submitted by Katie McCravy, Keyway Committee

March 3, 2012

Vision For The Future

Feb. 28, 2012: Our club's own Anita Zucker served as guest speaker this week, providing an update on the family’s successful privately-held company, The InterTech Group, which is widely recognized as one of America's largest and most successful private businesses.

"Family is the most important aspect of life," Anita said at the outset, maintaining that theme during her remarks. She comfortably displayed the leadership and strength we across the lowcountry and beyond have come to appreciate in her. She provided an engaging summary of the company her late husband and friend to many in Rotary, Jerry Zucker, founded in 1982.

Anita spoke eloquently about the tenets of success in individuals and organizations that include mastery of fundamental behaviors: commitment to excellent customer service, ethical conduct in all pursuits, innovation and productivity to name a few. She pointedly underscored the importance of supporting education, illustrating how advanced education can provide people with better opportunities to serve the community in any economic condition.

Her genuine passion for the mission of the family's company and worldwide community support was palpable. As it says on the company website, "Known not only for its dynamic business portfolio, but also for its exceptional philanthropic activities, The InterTech Group supports communities and organizations through its charitable endeavors and through The InterTech Group Foundation."

The company has interests in diverse industries including aerospace and aviation, chemicals and textiles, financial services and more.

Anita left us with one of Jerry’s most powerful mantras: "If you love your job, you'll never work a day in your life." Here's to you, "Super GaGa," a shining example of Service Above Self! We send a hearty Rotary thank you for all that you and your family do for so many.

Submitted by Mark Danes, Keyway Committee