Charles S. Ackerman, a real estate businessman and entrepreneur, gifted $1 million to Emory’s Michael C. Carlos Museum, according to Jennifer Long, assistant director of development at the Carlos Museum.
Ackerman intends for the donation to contribute to the museum’s endowment, Long said, adding that the museum will name its reception hall Charles S. Ackerman Hall in honor of the gift. The hall hosts special events, including lectures, exhibition openings and concerts.
“[Ackerman] has been so important to this institution for so long, and we thought naming the reception hall in honor of his contribution would be a wonderful tribute,” Carlos Museum Director Bonnie Speed said.
A founding donor of the museum’s major expansion in 1993, Ackerman has maintained his involvement with the museum for nearly 30 years, Speed said. In addition to serving on the Carlos Museum’s Advisory Board for nearly 20 years, Ackerman became the board’s chair in 2003. That same year, he accompanied museum staff to Egypt to return the mummy of Ramesses I after Emory curators identified it as the founding pharaoh of Egypt’s 19th dynasty, Long added.
Speed said that Ackerman has advocated for the museum throughout the community, purchasing works of art and funding various projects.
The recent donation will also continue to “give in perpetuity,” providing general operating support to the museum by funding programs and supporting any critical needs that may arise, Long said.
The Carlos Museum must fundraise to cover the costs of events that Emory does not fund, such as some exhibitions and education programs, and Ackerman’s donation will alleviate those costs, according to Speed.
“Ackerman has served the Carlos Museum for years,” Long said. “Now, his gift will continue to spin off income for the museum forever. That’s … quite significant for the museum.”