Welty GalaOctober 24, 2014
7:00 p.m.
Mary Ellen Weathersby Pope Banquet Room
Hogarth Dining Center
MUW Campus

Black Tie Optional


4:00 p.m. - Student discussion / informal Q&A (location TBA)
5:30 p.m. - Private Reception in President's Home
6:00 p.m. - Cocktail Reception with authors in Brigham President's Dining Room (Hogarth Dining Center)
7:00 p.m. - Dinner in Pope Banquet Room (Hogarth Dining Center)
8:15 p.m. - Robert Edsel's Presentation
9:00 p.m. - Book Signing


About the Gala

On Friday, October 24, at 7:00 p.m., The W family, including students from the Ina E. Gordy Honors College, alumni, and community members, are invited to join us for an elegant evening on campus. The Welty Gala begins with a cocktail reception with this year's Welty Symposium authors followed by dinner and a presentation by best-selling author and historian Robert Edsel.

The Welty Gala is our annual fundraiser for the Eudora Welty Chair in Humanities. To ensure the success of this event, MUW is seeking supporters who will participate as Benefactors, Patrons, and Friends. The Welty Gala is a tremendous asset for The W and the local community. We are especially grateful and appreciative of your support for this event and the opportunity it provides our Honors College students to further their academic experience beyond the classroom.

About the Speaker

Robert Edsel

Monuments Men

Robert Edsel, a former nationally ranked tennis player and pioneering oilman, is recognized today as one of the world's foremost advocates for art preservation. While living in Florence, he developed a great passion for art and architecture and became curious as to how so many of the monuments and great works of art survived the thefts and devastation of World War II. What began as a question evolved into an impassioned journey to unravel the secrets and heroics of the Monuments Men, the unsung heroes who saved the world's greatest art and cultural treasures for the benefit of civilization. Edsel has dedicated the last ten years of his life to the meticulous research of these cultural heroes, which culminated in Edsel's New York Times best-selling book, The Monuments Men: Allied Heroes, Nazi Thieves and the Greatest Treasure Hunt in History.

In 2006, Edsel self-published his first book Rescuing Da Vinci, a detailed historical account which includes 460 photographs. Edsel is also the co-producer of the documentary, The Rape of Europa, based on the award winning book. The film opened in theatres across the U.S. in September 2007; in November 2008, the film was broadcast on PBS and subsequently received two Emmy nominations.

In June 2009, Edsel published Beyond the Dreams of Avarice: The Hermann Goering Collection by Nancy Yeide, an internationally recognized expert in World War II-era provenance research. The thoroughly documented catalogue is the first study devoted to Goering's entire paintings collection.

Robert Edsel's third book, Saving Italy (May 2013), follows two Monuments Men as they struggle to protect and save some of the world's greatest treasures located in Italy, including works by Leonardo Da Vinci and Michelangelo.

Edsel is the Founder and President of the Monuments Men Foundation for the Preservation of Art, a not-for-profit entity. The Foundation was one of ten recipients of the 2007 National Humanities Medal, the highest honor given by the United States for excellence in the Humanities field.

Edsel has a long history of philanthropic endeavors. He has served on the Board of the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation (Dallas Chapter), the Advisory Board of St. Philip's School and Community Center, and as a volunteer at the Union Gospel Mission. Edsel founded the Cochran Chapel Homeowners Association in Dallas in 1993, serving as its President for the first three years. Additionally, in 2003, Edsel served as Chairman of a committee working to develop a master plan for the Turtle Creek corridor in Dallas.

In 2008, Edsel was a recipient of the President's Call to Service Award and the Hope for Humanity Award from the Dallas Holocaust Museum/Center for Education and Tolerance (DHM/CET). In 2009, Edsel became a member of the Advisory Board for the DHM/CET. In January 2010, Edsel was invited to become a trustee of The National World War II Museum in New Orleans, LA, and serves on the Executive Committee. In 2011, he was presented with the Texas Medal of Arts Award by Governor Rick Perry. He also received the Distinguished Alumnus Award from St. Mark's School of Texas.

Prior to his remarkable career in art preservation and philanthropy, Edsel began his business career in oil and gas exploration in 1981. His company, Gemini Exploration pioneered the use of horizontal drilling technology throughout the early 1990s. By 1995, Gemini had become the second most active driller of horizontal wells in the United States.


Donor Levels


$5,000 ($4,800 tax deductible)
Eight seats at a named table including preferential dinner service
Prominent program recognition
Eight invitations to the President's home for a private reception with Mr. Edsel
Four autographed books
One quarter-page advertisement in the spring issue of our alumni magazine VISIONS
Either a 20 meal ticket to the MUW Campus Dining Facility
OR a 20 session pass to the MUW Campus Recreational Center

Purchase the Benefactor Package online >



$500 ($475 tax deductible)
Dinner seating for one
Invitation to the President's home for a private reception with Mr. Edsel
An autographed book
Program recognition

Purchase the Patron Package online >



$75 ($50 tax deductible)
Dinner seating for one
Invitation to attend the reception in the Brigham Dining Room prior to Gala

Purchase the Friend Package online >


For Additional Information

Office of Development and Alumni
(662) 329-7148
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1100 College Street Columbus, MS 39701phone: 662.329.4750 or 877.462.8439