The Mount Vernon Ladies' Association announced Wednesday that James C. Rees IV will retire as president and chief executive officer on June 1, 2012.
Rees will retire after serving 29 years at the Mount Vernon Estate. His retirement is due to health issues, according to a press release issued by Mount Vernon.
During his tenure, Rees has successfully overseen the fundraising for more than a quarter billion dollars of projects designed to bring George Washington back into the national spotlight, including the development and opening of the Ford Orientation and Donald W. Reynolds Museum & Education Center buildings in 2006.
He has led the Estate through projects such as restoring and reconstructing George Washington’s Distillery & Gristmill, creating a new four-acre exhibition area farm site, the continued preservation of Washington’s viewshed, and countless other important restorations to the Estate.
“No one has done more for George Washington’s legacy than Jim Rees,” said Mount Vernon’s Regent, Ann Bookout, in a press release. “His dedication and drive echo the qualities of George Washington’s leadership.”
In the midst of the worst economic climate since the Great Depression, Rees successfully managed fundraising efforts that have, to date, secured $82 million out of the $100 million needed for the new Fred W. Smith National Library for the Study of George Washington, a site destined to function as Washington’s presidential library. The library broke ground last April and is slated to open in 2013.
Rees served as director of development and associate director at Mount Vernon from 1983 until his appointment as president in 1994. During Rees’ tenure, the staff has nearly doubled in size; and Mount Vernon’s endowment has grown from $4 million to $125 million. Mount Vernon receives more than one million visitors annually.
Rees serves on the board of directors for Fairfax County Convention and Visitors Corporation and the Piedmont Environmental Council of Virginia. He holds undergraduate and honorary doctorate degrees from the College of William & Mary and a master’s degree in public administration from George Washington University.
A national search for a new president will begin immediately. As Regent of the Mount Vernon Ladies' Association, Bookout will share oversight of the Estate with Rees through the transition.