Four-Star U.S. Army Gen. Barry R. McCaffrey will deliver keynote address at Hermitage Gala on October 29

The annual black-tie gala returns to an in-person event to benefit the Andrew Jackson Foundation’s education programs and preservation projects.

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (September 23, 2021) – The Hermitage Gala, hosted by the Andrew Jackson Foundation, will return in person on Friday, October 29 at the Loews Vanderbilt Hotel. Retired four-star U.S. Army Gen. Barry R. McCaffrey will deliver this year’s keynote address.

The black-tie gala is co-chaired by Mary Gambill and Mary Jo Shankle. “The Hermitage Gala, back in person this year, will be a wonderful evening of legacy, honoring special guests, and of course, hearing from our keynote speaker,” said Gambill. “It has been our privilege to chair this gala, and we could not be more excited to bring it back after the events of last year. We look forward to a long-awaited, remarkable evening,” Shankle said.

Gen. McCaffrey is a retired U.S. Army four-star General who is a national security and terrorism analyst for NBC News. He is president of his own consulting firm, BR McCaffrey Associates LLC, based in Seattle, Wa. He has served on the board of directors of public and private companies involved in health care, advanced technology, engineering design and global services. During the Clinton Administration, he served five years in the Cabinet as the Director of National Drug Policy.

McCaffrey served for 32 years on active duty with 12 years of overseas service and four combat tours. He was wounded in combat and received three Purple Heart Medals. He has twice received the nation’s second highest award for valor the Distinguished Service Cross and twice was awarded the Silver Star for valor. He has extensive experience in arms control issues and peacekeeping operations. During Desert Storm, he commanded 24th Mech Inf Div. during the “left hook” attack 230 miles into Iraq.

In addition to McCaffrey’s keynote address, the presentation of the Lewis R. Donelson Award, named after the great-grandson of Andrew Jackson Donelson and longtime supporter of The Hermitage, will be awarded to Richard G. Cowart. After moving to Tennessee in 1997, he was recruited to join the Andrew Jackson Foundation and has been in active leadership roles since, including serving two terms as Regent, Vice Chairman of the National Advisory Council, co-chair of the 200th anniversary of the Battle of New Orleans, as well as the 250th Andrew Jackson Birthday Celebration, an event attended by President Donald Trump.

“We are thrilled to bring back our annual Hermitage Gala after the cancellation of so many events in 2020,” said Howard J. Kittell, president and CEO of the Andrew Jackson Foundation. “This event is about supporting Andrew Jackson’s Hermitage as we seek to preserve an important chapter of America history that shaped our young nation’s future. Being able to hear the insight and sage advice that Gen. McCaffrey will offer will certainly enrich our understanding of what it means to be an American and how we as a country can unite together again. We look forward to seeing friends—long-time and new supporters—for an incredible evening.” 

Funds raised at the gala support education and public programming surrounding our nation’s seventh president and the Jacksonian Era, as well as Hermitage preservation and restoration projects.

Due to the rise of COVID-19 cases in our area, all guests are respectfully requested to be fully vaccinated. All necessary precautions to keep guests safe are being taken. Masks will be available at the door.

Tickets start at $375 for an individual guest and are now available online at

Andrew Jackson’s Hermitage is located at 4580 Rachel’s Lane in Nashville, Tenn. For more information on Andrew Jackson’s Hermitage, email or call 615-889-2941.


Andrew Jackson’s Hermitage: Home of the People’s President is one of the largest, most well-preserved and most visited presidential homes in the United States. Opened to the public in 1889, The Hermitage is one of America’s first presidential museums. Today, The Hermitage is a 1,120-acre National Historic Landmark with more than 20 historic buildings, including Jackson’s mansion and tomb, restored slave cabins, a church and gardens. In recent years, new interpretive initiatives and educational programs such as the history of slavery have enhanced the experience of more than 230,000 annual visitors. For more information, visit