SigEp Citation recipient Barney Ebsworth, Washington-St. Louis ’57, was a highly successful entrepreneur and world-renowned art collector. He began college at the University of Missouri on an athletic scholarship. After two years as a sprinter on the school’s track team, he earned an academic scholarship to attend Washington University in St. Louis and transferred to the school. He majored in business and continued to excel academically. In 1956, he took a break from his studies to join the Army. For two and a half years, he was stationed in France and, there, became educated in art.
After returning to St. Louis, Ebsworth was briefly employed at an insurance company before founding the luxury travel and cruise ship business, INTRAV. Ebsworth went on to found Royal Cruise Line and Clipper Cruise Line. He also founded Windsor, Inc., to finance investments, including venture capital and real estate. He was the original, lead investor behind the company Build-A-Bear Workshop.
Ebsworth built a prized collection of art by American modernists like Georgia O’Keeffe and Edward Hopper, and he helped guide the collections of several museums. Among other board roles, Ebsworth served as a trustee of the St. Louis Art Museum, the Seattle Art Museum, and the Honolulu Museum of Art. He was a former commissioner of the Smithsonian American Art Museum and co-chairman of the collectors committee for the National Gallery of Art.