The Theodore Roosevelt Presidential Library Foundation has elected Melani Walton to its Board of Trustees. Walton, a well-respected and dedicated philanthropist, is an alumna of Dickinson State University (DSU), where she was an academic and athletic All-American and remains an emeritus member of the DSU Foundation Board.
“The TRPLF Board of Trustees has been working diligently to make the dream of a Theodore Roosevelt Presidential Library and Museum a reality,” said Board Chair Bruce Pitts. “Melani’s leadership, vision, hands-on work ethic and deep commitment to this effort will propel us closer to making that dream a reality.”
Walton added, “I am honored to join this board and to be part of giving voice and place to President Roosevelt’s legacy. We have the opportunity to help others appreciate and experience the raw magic of these lands, not only as a destination but as a way of life. Growing up with the Badlands as part of our family heritage, I had the chance to learn about TR’s life and know others will benefit from his history.”
Walton’s commitment to the region is grounded in her own family’s history in the western North Dakota area, which dates back more than three generations. Walton also shares Theodore Roosevelt’s passion for conservation, sustainability, exploration and leadership.
“We are deeply grateful for Melani’s dedication to honoring Theodore Roosevelt with a presidential library and museum worthy of his incredible life and legacy,” said North Dakota Governor Doug Burgum. “Her strong educational and family ties to Dickinson and the region, her national perspective and her passion for philanthropy will help provide the momentum we need to realize the potential of this important project.”
Walton added, “Theodore Roosevelt understood the deep importance of nature and sustainability of lands and developed our nation's park system for the health of humanity and future generations. He was a visionary who left a lasting impact.”
She and her husband Rob are instrumental in supporting the African Parks Foundation, which has re-established and invigorated parks throughout Africa. More broadly, they have made substantial contributions of their time to Conservation International, participating extensively in its field operations globally. They also created the Walton Sustainability Solutions Initiative at Arizona State University, whose sustainability programs have reached millions of children and adults. Other Walton philanthropic leadership focuses on research and innovation in the areas of education, arts and humanities, brain health, consciousness studies, and well-being.
Melani Walton has served on a number of boards, including The Nature Conservancy, the Arizona Science Center, The Learning Committee, the Society of St. Vincent de Paul Advisory Board, the Phoenix Children’s Hospital, and the Arizona Women’s Board. She is also a member of the National Association of Professional Women.