Board of Trustees
Founder & Chairman
Robert Edsel is recognized today as one of the world’s foremost advocates for art preservation. While living in Florence, he developed a great passion for art and architecture and became curious as to how so many of the monuments and great works of art survived the thefts and devastation of World War II. What began as a question evolved into an impassioned journey to unravel the secrets and heroics of the Monuments Men and Women, and share their remarkable stories with a global audience. In 2007, Mr. Edsel founded the Monuments Men Foundation for the Preservation of Art to honor the remarkable legacy of these men and women. Throughout the years, Robert found and interviewed 21 Monuments Men and Women. Only three of them are living today. He travels frequently as a speaker introducing the story of the Monuments Men and Women through multi-media presentations to audiences throughout the United States and Western Europe as well as to men and women in uniform. He has served on various not-for-profit boards, including The National WWII Museum and St. Mark’s School of Texas. Mr. Edsel regularly blogs on his website, www.robertedsel.com.
Born and raised in Florence, Italy, Ms. Bottinelli received her B.A. in History of Art graduating magna cum laude from John Cabot University in Rome. In 2011, she received her M.A. in Art History at The Courtauld Institute of Art in London. Following graduation, Ms. Bottinelli served as lead Italian Researcher to Mr. Edsel on his New York Times bestseller, “Saving Italy: The Race to Save a Nation’s Treasure from the Nazis.” During her tenure at the Foundation, Ms. Bottinelli has overseen numerous restitutions of cultural objects to individuals and museums in Europe. She has also served as a consultant for “Hunting Nazi Treasure,” an eight-part investigative documentary series produced by Saloon Media in 2017. The program continues to air on Discovery’s American Heroes Channel, History Channel-Canada, and Canale Focus in Italy, with additional future broadcasts planned internationally.
Kristen Mapes, MA, MLIS
Kristen Mapes is the Assistant Director of Digital Humanities at Michigan State University. Her research investigates economies of book production through computational analysis of digitized medial manuscripts. With a background as a librarian and medieval studies scholar, Mapes also works with faculty, students, and community members to bring digital methods of inquiry and presentation into the study of the humanities. She teaches and develops curriculum at a range of course levels and creates educational experiences on projects for K-12 audiences.
Rita ( Bargerhuff) Egeland
A marketing executive, Ms. Egeland’s professional focus has been on sustainable business growth through actionable customer insights. She has a track record of brand and revenue growth, most often through an enhanced customer experience. Ms. Egeland has served as CMO for several multi-billion-dollar organizations, including 7-Eleven. Her innovative marketing programs there included Simpsons' Movie promotion, Undercover Boss (featuring 7-Eleven CEO Joe DePinto), Celebrity Cup with a Cause and the first social media promotional tie-in, 7-Eleven & Zynga (Farmville). Ms. Egeland has been a featured speaker at industry conferences including the CMO Executive Summit and Forrester’s Marketing Forum. She was also recognized by the Wall St. Journal Best Ads of 2007 (#2) as well as Advertising Age Top 50 Marketers. Rita earned her B.A. in Psychology from LI University and MBA in Marketing and Finance from the University of Chicago. She currently serves as an Adjunct Marketing professor at the SMU Cox School of Business as well as University of Texas - Dallas. In 2016-17 Ms. Egeland was awarded the UTD Naveen Jindal School of Management, Outstanding Adjunct Professor of the Year.
Susan Eisenhower serves as president of the Eisenhower Group, Inc., which provides strategic counsel on political and business projects. Eisenhower was a founding director and the first president of the Eisenhower Institute, where she became known for her work in the former Soviet Union and in the energy field. She is currently the Eisenhower Institute’s chairman of leadership and public policy programs. Eisenhower has authored three books, two of which, Breaking Free and Mrs. Ike, appeared on regional bestseller lists. She has also edited four collected volumes on regional security issues, most recently Partners in Space: U.S.-Russian Cooperation after the Cold War. She serves as a regular commentator on television and has provided analysis for CNN, MSNBC, Fox News, PBS, the BBC and all three network morning programs.
Dr. Seth Givens
Senior Military Consultant
Seth Givens earned a Ph.D. from Ohio University, where he studied military history. His areas of specialty are civil-military relations, alliance politics, and strategy and policy in World War II and the Cold War. He has studied civil-military relations at the end of wars, particularly the contact between troops and civilians and the ways in which militaries attempt to govern that interaction. This research led to Givens publishing on American soldiers looting and souvenir hunting in Germany during World War II, research for which he won several awards. He has received funding support from the U.S. Army, German Academic Exchange Service, Cantigny First Division Museum, and multiple presidential libraries.