Donor Spotlight: Fred Burns

It is an honor to feature one of our Old 300 members, a loyal and dedicated supporter who is a member of The Bryan Museum’s Board of Directors this week, philanthropist and historian, Fred C. Burns. Fred lives his life to serve the community and preserve our treasured history as evidenced by his loving restoration of a number of significant Galveston landmarks including the 1838 Menard House, Galveston’s oldest home.

Fred is a native Houstonian, attended Rice University on a baseball scholarship, and was elected captain of the Owls team. Following graduation, he began his distinguished career in insurance with American General Insurance Company and later joined the firm of John L. Wortham and Son.  He was elected partner in 1970, to the firm’s executive committee in 1981, and as Managing Partner/Chairman in 1985, a position he held until 2008 when he assumed the title of chairman emeritus of the firm.  He served on numerous industry boards including National Chairman of the Council of Insurance Agents and Brokers and chairman of its educational foundation.

In addition to his service as a member of our Board of Directors, Fred has been an active supporter of medical, educational, and civic organizations in Houston and Galveston. He is a member and former chairman of UTMB’s Development Board in Galveston and was chairman of UTMB’s successful $250 million fund raising campaign in 2007.  He was a Director in the Memorial Hermann Healthcare System and trustee for the John P. McGovern Museum of Health and Medical Science. He was honored to be chosen as one of the Men of Distinction, men who have distinguished themselves through excellence in community achievement in Houston.  The Knights of Momus, Galveston’s oldest Mardi Gras krewe, crowned him King Frivolous XXXX and he reigned over the festivities of the 2000 celebration.  He is currently a member of the Texas Philosophical Society and was appointed by the governor as an Admiral in the Texas Navy.

In addition to restoring the Menard House, Fred restored the 1856 Hutchings House, where he and his wife Dianne currently reside. His commitment to historic preservation has earned him numerous recognitions including serving a two-year term as chair of The National Trust for Historic Preservation Council in Washington, D.C. Fred remains active and committed to the community through his service as Trustee and former Chairman of the Wortham Foundation, Inc., a private charitable foundation that supports the Bryan; advisor for the Gus Wortham Chair of Insurance at the University of Texas; Director of the Rosenberg Library in Galveston; and Trustee of the Galveston Historical Foundation Endowment. Fred is the proud father of three children, seven grandchildren, and six great-grandchildren.

We are graced by Fred’s experience and passion that, as part of our leadership and governance at the Museum, are helping us weather the pandemic and grow our education programming, outreach, and audience. We are extremely grateful for Fred’s support, guidance, and friendship!