The Theodore Roosevelt Institute Board of Advisors was selected from prominent members of the national and international community, academia, and philanthropic organizations to guide the development and planning efforts for the Institute. Each Advisor embodies the ideals exemplified by Theodore Roosevelt: Perseverance, hard work, public service, intellectual curiosity, and dedication to preserving the environment.
Admiral Steve Abbot
Admiral Abbot is the President and Chief Executive Officer of Abbot Enterprises, Inc. From October 2001 to May 2003, he served as the Deputy Homeland Security Advisor to the President, and from July 2003 to September 2019, he was the President and Chief Executive Officer of Navy-Marine Corps Relief Society.
Admiral Abbot's last military assignment was Deputy Commander in Chief, U.S. European Command, Stuttgart, Germany. He oversaw the daily activities of a Unified Combatant Command with an area of responsibility encompassing 89 countries and more than 13 million square miles.
Born in Pensacola, Florida, Admiral Abbot graduated from Phillips Academy, Andover, in 1962, and the United States Naval Academy in 1966. His graduate studies include Oxford University as a Rhodes Scholar. Admiral Abbot also completed U.S. Air Force Test Pilot School and Naval Nuclear Power training.
Admiral Abbot presently serves as a Director of the Naval Academy Foundation.
Lowell Baier is the Founder of Baier Properties Inc., an award-winning real estate development company, a founder of the Wild Sheep Foundation, a Trustee of the Theodore Roosevelt Association, and a member of the Boone and Crockett Club. He led the drafting of President George H.W. Bush's wildlife conservation agenda, the formation of natural resources and wildlife conservation management Ph.D. programs at five universities, and a national campaign to raise money to purchase Theodore Roosevelt's Elkhorn Ranch.
He was named Citizen of the Year of Rockville, Md., Conservationist of the Year by the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation, and Conservationist of the Year by Outdoor Life Magazine. Baier authored "America's Crippling Battle for Its Lands, Endangered Species, and Their Critical Habitat: Inside the Equal Access to Justice Act", and "Voices From the Wilderness: A Biography”.
Baier received a B.A. in economics and political science from Valparaiso University, and a law degree from Indiana University.
Professor Douglas Brinkley
Douglas Brinkley is the Katherine Tsanoff Brown Chair in Humanities and Professor of History at Rice University, a CNN Presidential Historian, and a contributing editor at Vanity Fair. In the world of public history, he serves on boards, at museums, at colleges, and for historical societies.
The Chicago Tribune dubbed him "America's New Past Master". The New York Historical Society has chosen Brinkley as its official U.S. Presidential Historian. His recent book Cronkite won the Sperber Prize, while The Great Deluge: Hurricane Katrina, New Orleans, and the Mississippi Gulf Coast received the Robert F. Kennedy Book Award. He was awarded a Grammy for Presidential Suite and is the recipient of seven honorary doctorates in American studies. His two-volume, annotate Nixon Tapes recently won the Arthur S. Link-Warren F. Kuehl Prize for Documentary Editing.
He is a member of the Century Association, the Council on Foreign Relations, and the James Madison Council of the Library of Congress. He lives in Austin, Texas with his wife and three children.
Kent Conrad, former Senator from North Dakota, is a Bipartisan Policy Center Senior Fellow and Co-Chair of the Commission on Retirement Security and Personal Savings. Selected by TIME Magazine as one of “America’s 10 Best Senators” and rated by The American as one of the ten most economically knowledgeable members of Congress, he has played a vital role in shaping our nation’s fiscal policies over the past three decades.
Conrad began his career as an assistant to the North Dakota tax commissioner prior to being elected Senator from 1986-1992. From 2001-2003, he was Chair on the Committee on the Budget.
Conrad was the force behind the successful effort to have Theodore Roosevelt posthumously awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor, the United States government’s highest military honor, for his charge up San Juan Hill. Conrad holds an undergraduate degree from Stanford University and an MBA from George Washington University.
Geoffrey Cowan is a University Professor at the University of Southern California, where he holds the Annenberg Family Chair in Communication Leadership and serves as Director of the Annenberg Center on Communication Leadership and Policy. A former Dean of the USC Annenberg School and former Director of the Voice of America, Cowan is a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts & Sciences, the Walter Lippmann Fellow of the Academy of Political & Social Science, and a Trustee of the Theodore Roosevelt Association.
Cowan’s publications include “The People v. Clarence Darrow: The Bribery Trial of America’s Greatest Lawyer”, and “Top Secret: The Battle for the Pentagon Papers” (with the late Leroy Aarons). Cowan’s book “Let the People Rule: Theodore Roosevelt and the Birth of the Presidential Primary” provides insight into the 1912 presidential campaign that changed American politics.
Cowan is a graduate of Harvard College and Yale Law School.
Mark Gearan is the 19th director of the Institute of Politics at Harvard Kennedy School. Mark has served in a variety of roles in American politics, government, and education including the 14th Director of the Peace Corps and White House Communications Director and Deputy Chief of Staff, as well as the longest-serving President of Hobart and William Smith Colleges (HWS) and President-in-residence at Harvard Graduate School of Education (HGSE).
He is Vice Chair for National and Public Service of the National Commission on Military, National, and Public Service, and sits on the Faculty of Arts and Sciences Standing Committee for Public Service. He has given many lectures in which he urges the audience to consider careers in public service in order to give back to their nation, much like Theodore Roosevelt.
Mark earned a B.A. in government cum laude at Harvard University, a law degree from Georgetown University Law Center, and is recipient of 13 honorary degrees.
Randy Hatzenbuhler, a Mandan native, has worked for the Theodore Roosevelt Medora Foundation for over 30 years and has helped raise over $60 million in gifts to further develop Medora, the gateway community to the Theodore Roosevelt National Park.
He began working alongside the TR Medora Foundation’s first president, Rod Tjaden, and the organization’s founder, Harold Schafer. Hatzenbuhler has served as its President since 1997. During his time in Medora, he has been instrumental in leading the area’s growth in tourism, fundraising, and physical development.
Hatzenbuhler was recently announced as the Executive Director for Development for the Theodore Roosevelt Presidential Library, in addition to his role as President of the Theodore Roosevelt Medora Foundation, where he will join newly appointed CEO, Ed O’Keefe. The integration of these organizations will leverage the Theodore Roosevelt Medora Foundation’s five decades of experience in the Badlands, while connecting people to his Presidential Library, both in Medora – a place TR loved.
Rep. French Hill
Representative French Hill represents central Arkansas in the U.S. House of Representatives, where he is a member of the U.S. House Financial Services Committee; a Ranking Member of the National Security, International Development, and Monetary Policy Subcommittee; and a member of the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement Republican House Whip Team.
Previously, Rep. Hill was founder, chairman, and CEO of Delta Trust & Banking Corp.; a senior official in President George H.W. Bush’s administration; and Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Treasury for Corporate Finance. He was appointed Executive Secretary to President Bush’s Economic Policy Council, receiving the Distinguished Service Award.
Rep. Hill is a past president of Little Rock’s Rotary Club and former chairman of Little Rock’s Regional Chamber of Commerce. He is a long-time supporter of historic preservation in Arkansas and the Boy Scouts of America, of which Theodore Roosevelt was a founding member. He graduated magna cum laude in Economics from Vanderbilt University.
Brian Kilmeade joined Fox News in 1997, where he has developed the ability to interview and provide insight into newsmakers, politicians, celebrities and athletes. Kilmeade is co-host of Fox & Friends, and he hosts his nationally syndicated radio show, “The Brian Kilmeade Show”, which “Talkers Magazine” ranked in the top 20 most powerful shows on radio. Since 2018, Kilmeade has hosted “What Made America Great” on “Fox Nation TV”, which explores pivotal places that shaped the United States.
Prior to Fox News, Kilmeade was an anchor/reporter on NEWSPORT TV, an anchor on KHSC-TV, a host on all sports radio’s XTRA AM690, and a correspondent on Channel One, a daily national high school television news program.
Kilmeade has written numerous books about sports and American historical figures that have been read by over 2.5 million people globally. He earned a BA in Communications with a specialization in Political Science from Long Island University, where he also played soccer.
Conan Christopher O'Brien was born in Brookline, Massachusetts, and he is the longest-working late-night talk show host in the United States. He began his comedy career by serving twice as the president of The Harvard Lampoon. Conan then became a writer and producer on television shows including "Saturday Night Live" and "The Simpsons". In 1993, he took over as NBC's "Late Night" host. He is currently helming the show "Conan", now in its eighth season on TBS.
Conan has hosted multiple award shows, performed a 32-city live comedy tour, been the subject of his own documentary, and performed at two White House Correspondents' Dinners. He won three Emmy Awards, six Writer's Guild Awards, and a People's Choice Award.
Conan is a long-time admirer of Theodore Roosevelt. He has made a particular study of the role humor played in Theodore Roosevelt's public life, how Theodore Roosevelt used humor for his own ends, and how he felt about being the butt of others' barbs.
Edward O’Keefe has worked in media for over 20 years, starting as a desk assistant at ABC News, where his team won the George Foster Peabody Award for their coverage of 9/11. At ABC News, O’Keefe covered numerous political campaigns and top news stories, and interviewed many public figures.
O’Keefe is the Founding Editor-in-Chief of NowThis, a mobile social video start-up. He joined CNN in 2014, where he is Senior Vice President of Content Development. While at CNN, O’Keefe’s teams won the first Edward R. Murrow Award for Social Media, three Webbys, a James Beard Award, and a Promax marketing award.
Through access to never-before-published material on Theodore Roosevelt’s relationships with the women in his life, along with extensive research at the Library of Congress, the Theodore Roosevelt Center at Dickinson State University, the Theodore Roosevelt birthplace in New York City, and Sagamore Hill, O’Keefe has written an upcoming book, The Loves of Theodore Roosevelt.
Karl Rove served as Senior Advisor to President George W. Bush from 2000–2007 and Deputy Chief of Staff from 2004–2007. He oversaw the Offices of Strategic Initiatives, Political Affairs, Public Liaison, and Intergovernmental Affairs and was Deputy Chief of Staff for Policy, coordinating the White House policy-making process.
Before Rove became known as “The Architect” of President Bush’s 2000 and 2004 campaigns, he was president of Karl Rove + Company, an Austin-based public affairs firm that worked for over 75 Republican political candidates, as well as non-partisan causes and non-profit groups.
Today, Mr. Rove writes a weekly op-ed for the Wall Street Journal and is a Fox News contributor. He is the author of the New York Times Bestseller Courage and Consequence, and The Triumph of William McKinley, which details the 1896 Presidential election, including Theodore Roosevelt’s aid to McKinley’s efforts. He is the founder of the American Crossroads/Senate Leadership Fund super-PAC.
Christopher Ruddy is CEO and President of Newsmax Media Inc., a leading digital and television news media company. Ruddy, who grew up near Sagamore Hill, has been a long-time member of the Theodore Roosevelt Association and often reference Theodore Roosevelt in his commentaries on current U.S. politics.
Ruddy founded Newsmax in 1998 to publish online and offline content in the fields of news, politics, health and finance. Newsmax.com ranks consistently as one of the country's most trafficked news websites. Newsmax TV, a cable and over-the-top media service news channel started in 2014, is carried in more than 70 million U.S. homes.
As a journalist, Ruddy previously worked at the New York Post and the Pittsburgh Tribune Review. He was also awarded a Media Fellowship at the Hoover Institution on War, Revolution and Peace at Stanford University. A Newsweek cover story named him as one of America's top 20 most influential news media personalities.
Ruddy holds a BA summa cum laude in history from St. John's University and a Master's in Public Policy from the London School of Economics.
Admiral James Stavridis
Admiral Stavridis is an Operating Executive of the global private equity firm, The Carlyle Group. A retired 4-star Admiral of the U.S. Navy, he was the 16th Supreme Allied Commander of NATO. During his naval career, he also led the Navy's premier operational think tank for innovation and held commands as Commander of U.S. Southern Command in Miami, Florida, and Senior Military Assistant to the Secretary of the Navy and the Secretary of Defense.
Admiral Stavridis has won more than 50 medals, including 28 from foreign nations, as well as the 2019 Theodore Roosevelt Association Medal of Honor for his resilient leadership and dedicated service during his extensive military career.
He earned a Ph.D. from The Fletcher School at Tufts University, where he served as Dean for five years, winning the Gullion prize as the outstanding student in his class, as well as academic honors from the National and Naval War Colleges as a distinguished student. Jim has published nine books on character, leadership, the oceans, Latin America, ship handling, and innovation, along with hundreds of articles in leading journals.
Dr. Jessica Hayes
Chief of Staff and University Relations
Office of the President Jessica.Hayes@liu.edu