The Historic Congressional Cemetery (HCC) has a new president. After a national search, the Board of Directors of the Association for the Preservation of Historic Congressional Cemetery has selected Jaclyn “Jackie” Spainhour as the next HCC President.
The board said it was looking for a visionary leader with strong management and fundraising skills to lead HCC into the next phase of its growth. “In Jackie, we found all of those traits along with a warmth and curiosity that will draw all cemetery constituencies further into our family,” the council wrote in a press release. Spainhour officially took office on November 1st.
Jackie arrives at the HCC at the Hunter House Victorian Museum in Norfolk, Virginia, where she has spent the better part of a decade supervising a team of museum professionals and volunteer guides. As director of the Hunter House, Jackie transformed the organization from an undiscovered local gem into a well-known facility in Virginia and beyond for its forward-thinking programs, engaged millennial audience, and active, impactful presence on social networks. In addition to a significant increase in revenue, Jackie’s tenure at Hunter House has been marked by dramatic innovation and major advances in programming and outreach.
Spainhour said she was “humbled and thrilled to join the Congressional Graveyard family” and build on the legacy Williams left behind to include even more diverse audiences.
“I can’t wait to learn more about the residents — and future residents — of ‘America’s Happiest Cemetery,'” she said. “I accept this position with the utmost respect for the past as we journey together into the future of the Congressional graveyard.”
The national search for the HCC President was launched in June 2021. A wide field of candidates was ultimately narrowed down by the search committee to three finalists. The three finalists each spent half a day on the cemetery grounds, speaking with HCC staff, members of the search committee, all other board members and Christ Church Rector, the Reverend John Kellogg.
Outgoing President Paul K. Williams resigned as president in October after nearly a decade at the helm of the cemetery. Williams accepted a position as Superintendent of Oak Hill Cemetery in Georgetown and Chief Operating Officer (COO) of the Oak Hill Foundation. But he won’t go far. “As he loves to share,” the HCC board said, “as a cemetery owner, he plans to be with us for eternity.”
COVID restrictions prevented the board from hosting a planned farewell event for Paul prior to his departure. A celebration of Williams’ years of service will take place as soon as it is safe to host large gatherings, ideally in the spring of 2022.
Learn more about the Historic Congressional Cemetery (HCC), its programs, events, and plots by visiting www.congressionalcemetery.org.