Civil War Trust
For Immediate Release: 02/12/14
Trio of Acclaimed Historic Preservation Advocates Rejoin Civil War Trust Board
National organization welcomes return of three outstanding contributors to the battlefield preservation cause following sabbaticals to pursue broader conservation goals
(Washington, D.C.) – The Civil War Trust is pleased to announce the three newest additions to its national Board of Trustees — Lester G. “Ruff” Fant, III, John L. Nau, III and William W. Vodra. The three men, each of whom held leadership positions within the organization during their previous tenures, all return to the board of trustees following periods of absence during which they continued to advance the causes of battlefield preservation and public land access in other capacities. The leadership and specialized experience that the trio brings to the board will serve to further the cause of historic land conservation throughout the second half of the Civil War sesquicentennial period and beyond.
“It is an honor to welcome my dear friends Ruff, John and Bill back to the Board of Trustees, where I know they will again rise to the challenges we face working to set aside the hallowed ground on which our nation was shaped,” said Trust President James Lighthizer. “Both with the Trust and in their numerous other capacities, these individuals have repeatedly demonstrated their commitment to the philosophy of battlefield preservation — creating a permanent and lasting memorial to American bravery, one which also provides educational, environmental and economic benefits for the surrounding community.”
Lester Glenn “Ruff” Fant, III, first joined the board of the Civil War Trust in 1994, shortly after its founding. He was elected chairman in early 1997 and held that position until late 1999, when the group merged with the Association for the Preservation of Civil War Sites, creating the organization as it stands today. Fant is a graduate of Vanderbilt University and Harvard Law School and an active duty veteran of the U.S. Marine Corps, rising to the rank of captain and earning a Navy Achievement Medal for his service. Highlights of his legal career include tenures as a partner at Cohen & Uretz and Sidley & Austin, where he sat on the executive committee. Ruff was an adjunct professor at Georgetown University Law Center for 18 years while he was practicing law. Fant is presently the chairman of Galway III, LLC a specialty finance firm in Washington, D.C., and serves as a trustee of Sidwell Friend School, and on the Dean’s Advisory Board of Harvard Law School. He and his wife Susan live in Washington, D.C., with their son, Henry.
A dedicated volunteer and contributor to historic preservation efforts, John L. Nau, III, has previously served as the chairman of three top entities in the historic preservation realm — the national Advisory Council on Historic Preservation, the Texas Historical Commission and, from 2009–2011, the Civil War Trust. A graduate of the University of Virginia with a degree in history, Nau has endowed a chair in that department to ensure top-quality instruction on the subject of the American Civil War. He is the president and CEO, Silver Eagle Distributors, LP, the largest Anheuser-Busch distributor in the U.S., and has served on a broad spectrum of civic, community and philanthropic Boards in support of education, health and hospitals, inner city children, urban parks and conservation, including National Park Foundation, Greater Houston Partnership, The Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History, Texas State Historical Association and Admiral Nimitz Foundation.
William W. Vodra joined the Civil War Trust Board in 2005, becoming secretary, a position he held until 2013. During his year off the board, Vodra remained actively involved with preservation efforts, volunteering alongside Trust staff on a variety of important battlefield protection initiatives. Vodra, a graduate of the College of Wooster (Ohio) and Columbia University School of Law, has held numerous significant positions in federal service, including Special Assistant U.S. Attorney in D.C., Assistant Chief Counsel for the Drug Enforcement Administration, and Associate Chief Counsel for Drugs to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. He has served on expert panels for the Institute of Medicine and written extensively on food and drug law. Vodra is currently Senior Counsel, Arnold & Porter LLP and has been instrumental in securing the firm’s pro-bono support for preservation issues. He and his wife Dru have identified 21 direct and collateral ancestors who fought in the Civil War.
The Civil War Trust is the largest nonprofit battlefield preservation organization in the United States. Its mission is to preserve our nation’s endangered Civil War battlefields and to promote appreciation of these hallowed grounds. To date, the Trust has preserved more than 38,500 acres of battlefield land in 20 states. Learn more at www.civilwar.org, the home of the Civil War sesquicentennial.