Today we at Thomas Jefferson’s Monticello are saddened to announce the recent passing of two former leaders, Brenton S. Halsey and Alice Warner Handy. Both were key players in the Foundation's and Monticello's history, contributing immensely to its stability and growth.
"We have been very fortunate to have a number of world-class leaders who have left indelible marks on Monticello. Brent Halsey and Alice Handy rise to the top of that list," said P. Gardiner Hallock, Interim President of the Thomas Jefferson Foundation at Monticello. "It is not an exaggeration to say that every guest visiting Monticello today experiences exhibits, buildings, and spaces that would not have been possible without their steadfast support and guidance. We are honored to carry on their respective legacies."
Brenton S. Halsey, born in Newport News, Virginia, on April 8, 1927, was a formidable figure who committed his life to various prestigious roles in both business and philanthropy. After a decorated military service as a Lieutenant (j.g.) in the United States Navy during the Korean War, he graduated from the University of Virginia with a Bachelor of Chemical Engineering degree and then furthered his studies at the Institute of Paper Chemistry in Wisconsin.
Halsey’s business acumen was exhibited in his role as the founding Chief Executive Officer and Chairman of the James River Corporation, a highly successful NYSE company specializing in consumer paper products packaging and business printing and converting papers. His skills and expertise enabled the corporation to reach annual sales of approximately $8 billion.
His dedication to public service was reflected in his roles within the Thomas Jefferson Foundation Board of Trustees, where he served in various capacities from 1989 to 2001, including Vice President of the Board in 1993, Vice Chairman from 1994-97, and finally as Chairman of the Board from 1998-2001. During his tenure on its board, the Foundation completed two major fundraising campaigns, restored Monticello's unique and complex roof system, established the Robert H. Smith International Center for Jefferson Studies, brought the Papers of Thomas Jefferson: Retirement Series to a new home at Monticello, and broke ground on the Jefferson Library, all of which greatly expanded the Foundation's reach and influence.
Halsey’s passion extended beyond the Foundation, serving on the boards of The Virginia Historical Society (now the Virginia Museum of History and Culture), The Mariner’s Museum, Richmond Renaissance (now Venture Richmond), Richmond Riverfront Corporation, St. Catherine’s School, and the American Forest and Paper Association. His lifelong passion for sail racing also led him to take up key roles within the Fishing Bay Yacht Club and the New York Yacht Club.
"Brent Halsey was one of the finest of men, and one of our great board chairs," said Leslie Greene Bowman, President Emerita of the Thomas Jefferson Foundation. "He was a transformational civic leader, in large part because he cared deeply about history, really listened, and solicited opinions that might differ from his own. We elected him lifetime honorary trustee during my tenure, and I know that I am not alone in believing I was made better by his strong character and quiet leadership. He will be missed."
Alice Warner Handy, another stalwart figure of the Thomas Jefferson Foundation, served with distinction as a Trustee from 1998 until 2010, followed by her Emerita status from 2011 to December 2016, where she was recognized as Chairman Emerita. She held various positions within the Foundation, such as Chair, Vice-Chair, and Secretary of the Board. Her expertise in financial matters enabled remarkable growth of the endowment and ensured continuous debt-free annual operations. She was a significant contributor to planning and completion of two major building projects: the David M. Rubenstein Visitor Center and the Robert H. Smith Center on Montalto.
Handy’s financial prowess was displayed in her illustrious career, as the founder, former president, and CEO of Investure. This firm became nationally recognized for outperforming Ivy League endowment returns, with $12 billion under management. Her contribution to the field of institutional investing extended to her roles as the University of Virginia's first investment officer, its treasurer, and finally as president of the University of Virginia Investment Management Company (UVIMCO).
Handy’s work didn’t stop there; she generously lent her financial expertise to various other organizations such as the Smithsonian Institution, The American Friends of the National Gallery London, the National Trust for Historic Preservation, the United Way of Greater Charlottesville, and the Charlottesville Area Community Foundation.
“Alice Handy was a consequentially important part of the programs and successes of the Thomas Jefferson Foundation over the past 25 years. Her investment acumen applied with common sense and patience was invaluable,” said Don King Jr., Trustee of the Thomas Jefferson Foundation. “Her many other civic contributions in Charlottesville and beyond followed the path advocated by Jefferson. The entire Monticello team has treasured having her with us. She, too, will be missed.”
Both Brenton S. Halsey and Alice Warner Handy made remarkable contributions to the Thomas Jefferson Foundation. They were leaders whose dedication, acumen, and passion have left an indelible mark on the Foundation's history. Their work will continue to inspire future generations and guide the Foundation's ongoing efforts to honor and preserve the legacy of Thomas Jefferson.
931 Thomas Jefferson Parkway
Charlottesville, VA 22902