We've been celebrating our 50th anniversary at the Ransom Center since January, and we've had dozens of programs and events to commemorate this milestone. Among the highlights were visits by Robert De Niro, Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein, and Dana Gioia, Chairman of the National Endowment for the Arts. Our celebration this spring culminated with a magnificent gala, attended by Norman Mailer, Don DeLillo, and James Salter, and featuring Isaiah Sheffer, host of the National Public Radio program "Selected Shorts," as master of ceremonies. Vartan Gregorian, President of the Carnegie Corporation of New York, was the guest speaker at the gala, and his remarks were warmly received.
What a year it has been. We have exceeded the goal of our capital campaign, raising more than $12 million in support of the Center. We announced the acquisition of yet another remarkable archive, the papers of preeminent American playwright and filmmaker David Mamet. We have been the subject of an enormous amount of national and international attention from such media outlets as The New Yorker, The Paris Review, Canada's National Post, Houston Chronicle, The Chronicle of Higher Education, Austin American-Statesman, and even The Wall Street Journal. Our newsletter and other promotional materials have been honored with several distinguished national awards. And visitors from across the community have joined us for our anniversary events and exhibitions, many entering the Ransom Center for the first time.
Our successes this year are owed to the remarkable contributions of our staff and advisory council members who have worked with talent and skill to meet the added demands of this anniversary year. I am grateful to all of them. As is inevitable with any successful staff, some of our members are leaving us this year to pursue other ventures, and we wish them well. Jeff Melton, our Associate Director of Development, has accepted a position at the University's Central Development Office. Robert Fulton, our Curator for Academic Affairs, has been awarded a Fulbright lectureship at the University of Antwerp and will be leaving us in December. Our manuscripts accessioner, Liz Murray, retired at the end of August, but we are pleased and relieved that she will return to help us on a part-time basis after a much-deserved break.
The broad-based support we have received this year from our staff, our members, and our donors has brought distinction and recognition to the Ransom Center and the University. We are grateful to all of you, and we hope you will continue to celebrate and support the Ransom Center throughout our 50th anniversary and, of course, for the next fifty years.
—Thomas F. Staley