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b2ap3_thumbnail_tappingakeg.gifOn July 10, 1212* the wood buildings and thatched roofs of London went up in flames. The Great Fire of Southwark started south of the London Bridge in the borough of Southwark. Although the bridge survived, it was built mostly of stone by this time, the houses on the bridge were lost along with many first responders, residents, and gawkers who were trapped when flying sparks started fires on the other end of the bridge. This event was known as the Great Fire of London until it was eclipsed by a bigger fire in 1666. 

Following the destruction, the first mayor of London, Henry Fitz-Ailwin, and a "council of reputable men" made some recommendations "for the purpose of calming and pacifying an angry citizenry and to protect against fires." Their recommendations included the provision of licenses for approved scot-ales held to raise funds for rebuilding with stone.

Tagged in: Fundraising History

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b2ap3_thumbnail_failroom.jpgDuring his lifetime, James M. Fail (1926 - 2010), a big supporter of the University of Alabama, made regular major gifts to the Crimson Tide Foundation in support of the University's athletic department. His contributions made him eligible for various naming rights but he always declined to use his own name and honored others instead. But in 2008, the perfect opportunity to put his name to effective use presented itself.

"When I saw the visitors' locker room as a potential naming right," said Mr. Fail, "I figured it was the most appropriate opportunity I would ever have to use my name."

So now whenever an opposing team arrives at the Bryant-Denny Stadium, they go straight to The Fail Room.

Image via, l-r Mal Moore, director of athletics, and James Fail at The Fail Room dedication in 2008.
Tagged in: Fundraising History

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Edward Everett, American politician & orator, born April 11, 1794b2ap3_thumbnail_Edward_Everett.jpg

Two hundred and twenty years ago, the world received a child who would grow up to be the man who got upstaged by the Gettysburg Address. At least that's how he is remembered today by the few who remember him. The Hon. Edward Everett was The Featured Speaker, the headline act, you might say, for the consecration of the Gettysburg National Cemetery.

Everett's two-hour speech was delivered from memory and that alone is an admirable feat. His final "farewell to the dust of these martyr-heroes" was supposed to be the rousing ne plus ultra. But, no.

Abraham Lincoln comes in between a hymn and a dirge to deliver his two-minute bit that will go down in history as one of the finest examples of oration in the English language. His address is the one everyone remembers and I daresay that was as true five minutes after the end of the event as it is today.

Everett certainly got schooled about what makes a great communicator. You might expect him to be bitter but he wasn't. He wrote to Lincoln, "I should be glad, if I could flatter myself that I came as near the central idea of the occasion in two hours, as you did in two minutes."

Everett gave a beautiful speech that no one remembers. There is a lesson there for us, too, as we communicate with our audiences.

Less is more.

Tagged in: Communications History

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