GREENSBORO, N.C. -- The owner of the Biltmore Estate, William Amherst Vanderbilt Cecil who passed away this week in Asheville was a true champion for preservation.
His son, Bill Cecil Jr., who’s President and CEO of the Biltmore Company said, “He will always be remembered for his leadership, vision, and dedication to Biltmore. He had the foresight to do what everyone thought was impossible.”
Here are 15 things you might not know about Cecil:
1. He was born August 17, 1928 at his family home in Asheville
2. He served in the British Navy near the end of World War II
3. Educated in England and Switzerland
4. Graduated from Harvard University in 1952
5. He was the youngest son of Cornelia Vanderbilt Cecil and John Francis Amherst Cecil
6. Worked in finance at Chase Manhattan Bank in Washington, D.C.
7. Got married in 1957 to Mary “Mimi” Ryan
8. Moved from New York to Asheville with the dream to preserve Biltmore by boosting tourism not to just to the Estate but also to Asheville
9. The estate turned its first profit in 1969
10. The 250-room Biltmore Estate was designated a National Historic Landmark in 1963 under Cecil
11. He retired from daily operations in 1995
12. He served as chairman of the Biltmore Company’s Board of Directors until his passing
13. Served as President of the Asheville Area Chamber of Commerce and Chairman of the Southern Highlands Attractions Association among other organizations
14. The Buncombe County Tourism Development Authority established the William A.V. Cecil Award for Tourism Leadership in his honor nearly two decades ago.
15. Cecil once wrote about Biltmore saying, “Long May the Lady on the Hill stand as a symbol of vision, inspiration, and imagination.”
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