The Heinz Endowments recently named Robert “Bobby” Vagt its new president.
Vagt, an ordained Presbyterian minister, has served as president of Davidson College in North Carolina since 1997. Before that, he spent 17 years in the international oil and gas exploration business, leading several energy corporations. He has also been executive director of the Municipal Assistance Corporation for New York City, assistant director of the New York state budget, director of clinical programs at the Northwest Alabama Mental Health Center, and a psychologist and warden with the North Carolina Department of Corrections.
“What is compelling about the Heinz Endowments,” says Vagt, “is a combination of two things: the fact that the Heinz Endowments’ board and program staff have brought such thoughtful and specific focus to their philanthropy, and that when this level of resource is brought to bear on their programmatic interests, it is possible to affect them at a depth that is quite unusual.”
Vagt enjoys the prospect of leading a staff whose “unique blend of knowledge, experience, energy, and passion can have a tangible and positive effect on the process and outcome of our grantmaking. We just need to ensure we can maintain the self-discipline required to measure the results.”
Vagt received a bachelor’s degree in psychology from Davidson in 1969 and earned a Master’s of Divinity from Duke University in 1972. Among his other commitments, Vagt serves as chairman of the Children’s Defense Fund and sits on the boards of Union Theological Seminary and El Paso Corporation.
John Templeton Foundation
The John Templeton Foundation has named Gary Rosen its new chief external affairs officer. Rosen was an editor for Commentary for over ten years, and has worked as the magazine’s managing editor since 2000.
“I’m deeply impressed by the Templeton Foundation’s commitment to science and scientific rigor,” says Rosen. “Asking the ‘big questions’ is not so hard to do. Trying to answer them in a serious, systematic way is rare in today’s polarized cultural environment.”
Rosen has held positions as senior editor of City Journal, assistant editor of the Journal of Democracy, and speechwriter for New Jersey Governor Thomas H. Kean. He is the author of American Compact: James Madison and the Problem of Founding (1999), which the American Historical Review called “the place to start” for “the serious student of Madison’s political thought.” His more recent writings have appeared in numerous publications, including Commentary, the New York Times, the Washington Post, and the Wall Street Journal.
As chief external affairs officer, Rosen aims to “get the word out about all the remarkable research sponsored by the foundation. Too many people think only of the Templeton Prize when they hear our name. I want them to know about the full range of the foundation’s interests, from cosmology and evolutionary biology to character education and free-market solutions for the underdeveloped world.”
Rosen graduated Phi Beta Kappa from Stanford University in 1988. He received a Ph.D. in political science from Harvard University in 1996.