A Tribute to Rob Vaughan


Send Robert C. Vaughan off with your well-wishes.

VFH News

Rob Vaughan - Photo by Dan Addison
Rob Vaughan - Photo by Dan Addison

Help Us Celebrate Rob Vaughan’s Four Decades of Leadership

During his 43 years at the helm of Virginia Foundation for the Humanities, Rob’s work has had a profound impact on the Commonwealth and its citizens. From sparking early public discussions across the state to championing our latest digital initiatives, Rob has made the humanities central to public life in Virginia and built a network of friends, partners, and colleagues inspired by a shared purpose.

As Rob retires in June 2017, it is only fitting to send him off with something he truly cherishes: a book. This book will be created by us—those who have worked for him, learned from him, and collaborated with him. Our hope is to send him off with shared memories, great stories, and well wishes for his next chapter.

Please take a few minutes to share a memory or a fond farewell for Rob. Your words will be included in a one-of-a-kind book compiled just for him. If you wish to share a photo, clipping, or other small item, please contact Lynda Myers at 434-243-5525 or lmyers@virginia.edu.

4 Comments on "A Tribute to Rob Vaughan"

  1. Years ago, while attending the Virginia Festival of the Book, an event was held in the Rotunda by some Ulster Scots, who invited all attendees to join them that evening for food and beverage in one of the meeting rooms at the Omni Hotel. Though the event had been well attended, only three people showed up that evening – the two of us and Rob, whom we had never met. It would have been easy for him to have made his appearance and then quickly left. Instead, Rob stuck around, taking an interest not only in the Ulster guests, but also in us. In the many years since, he has never forgotten us, always glad to welcome us back to the festival, and always making us feel like important members of the VFH family.

    Rob, we’ve never told you how much that has meant to us. Thank you so much for the wonderful work you have done through and for VFH, and for all you have given to this commonwealth. And thank you for your personal touch, that generosity of time and spirit that has uniquely set you apart as a leader and friend. You have had such an impact in our lives, for which we are forever grateful.

    We wish you the very best!
    Eric and Diane Lawson

  2. I have known Rob since the beginning of the Foundation, when we were both young whippersnappers. Over the years, Rob has been an inspiration and friend to all kinds of folks–me included–helping us all to value and work for the humanities. He does his good work (and it has been very good work) with intelligence, insight, wit, and charm and a generosity of spirit we all hope to emulate. He leaves the Foundation with the kind of legacy we all wish we could leave on our profession, colleagues, and community. Rob, I’m just glad after all the many years we worked together, you got to see my momentary triumph as humanities scholar turned caterer! I wish you every kind of happiness in retirement.

  3. To share a perspective from outside Virginia, as one of Rob’s 55 counterparts at other state and territorial humanities councils in the nation: Rob Vaughan is widely recognized as a giant in this national community, and yet he is one of the most down-to-earth, gracious, and thoughtful leaders I have had the pleasure to work with. He has made a lasting positive impact on many of us state humanities council directors and staff around the nation, and I am grateful for the opportunity to try to learn a thing or two from him. Rob, on behalf of all of us at Humanities Nebraska, thank you for the example you set and for your lifelong commitment to the humanities in our nation!

  4. Soon after I first joined VFH as an ACLS/NEH/SSRC Fellow in early 2014, there was an initial meeting of Fellows headed by Rob. Intimidated a bit at first by the talent arouund me and the deference they paid to Rob, it wasn’t long before I felt at ease. In his deep quiet voice, he asked that we all introduce ourselves and be sure to add something about what we are reading now. I felt from then on at home with the VFH: I realized that its leader was a man who both fundamentally loves books and values its Fellows’ work with books, all revealed simply by his curiosity about what sits now on your bedside table or is being clutched all day in your bag. Thank you, Rob!

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