Mark K. Updegrove is stepping down as director of the LBJ Presidential Library on March 1, the library said Thursday.
Updegrove will become the CEO of the National Medal of Honor Museum that will be built along the Charleston Harbor in Mt. Pleasant, S.C.
“Serving as director of the LBJ Library has been the greatest honor in my career to this point,” said Updegrove in a release. “I’m proud of the team I’ve led and all we’ve done to elevate the legacy of President Lyndon Johnson and enhance the library’s reputation as a preeminent forum for thought leadership.”
Since becoming director in 2009, Updegrove supervised an $11 million redesign of the library’s exhibits, hosted the Vietnam War Summit in 2016 and planned the Civil Rights Summit in 2014. That summit included Barack and Michelle Obama, George W. and Laura Bush, Bill Clinton, Jimmy Carter, and a host of civil rights luminaries. “It was the highlight of my time as director: four presidents coming to the LBJ Library to pay tribute to LBJ’s courage and commitment around civil rights,” said Updegrove. “I think that marked a tipping point in LBJ’s legacy.”
Updegrove is only the fourth person to serve as director of the LBJ Library.
“Mark Updegrove is a rare leader possessed with vision, creativity, and organizational skills,” said Larry Temple, chairman, LBJ Foundation. “He is an entrepreneurial guy both with great ideas and the skills to implement them. The programming at the LBJ Library over the last eight years has brought national and even international acclaim to the library and The University of Texas. Credit that to Mark Updegrove. I won’t try to put a happy face on our disappointment on his leaving. While we will always be indebted to him for the rich legacy of accomplishment that he leaves at the Library, I just say: Darn it. We hate to see him go and we will miss him.”
The library said Updegrove authored “Indomitable Will: LBJ in the Presidency,” drawing on the library’s vast oral histories and archival materials. He is working on his fifth book, “The Last Republicans: George H.W. Bush and George W. Bush—a Father, a Son, and the End of an Era,” which will be published by HarperCollins in November 2017. Previous Updegrove works include:
“Second Acts: Presidential Lives and Legacies After the White House” (2006);
“Baptism by Fire: Eight Presidents Who Took Office During Times of Crisis” (2009); and
“Destiny of Democracy: The Civil Rights Summit at the LBJ Presidential Library” (2015).
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