Dr. Billie (Bill) R. DeWalt has had an extensive and distinguished academic and museum career. Between 2007 and 2013, he was the Founding Director and President of the new $250 million Musical Instrument Museum (MIM) in Phoenix. While at MIM he had oversight over all aspects of building construction, hiring a talented team, and assembling a collection of musical instruments and other objects from every country in the world. Previously he led Carnegie Museum of Natural History in Pittsburgh from 2001-2007 where he raised more than $50 million for a major building addition to house the museum’s famous collection of dinosaurs, renovations to three major galleries, and endowment. With a PhD in cultural anthropology, he had a distinguished academic career at the University of Kentucky and the University of Pittsburgh winning research and teaching awards at both. His research and extensive publications are focused on issues related to the social and environmental dimensions of economic development in Latin America and the United States. At the University of Pittsburgh, Dr. DeWalt was recognized as Distinguished Service Professor of Public and International Affairs and served as Director of its renowned Center for Latin American Studies where he built extensive collaborations with universities all over the region. He has been a Fulbright scholar in both Ecuador and Argentina.
During his university career, Dr. DeWalt was involved in several international efforts that involved consortia of universities from the United States and abroad. Among these projects were leadership roles in the International Sorghum/Millet Collaborative Research Support Program (an eight U.S. university consortium that received millions of dollars each year funded by the U.S. Agency for International Development), the Farming Systems Support Project and the Nutrition in Agriculture Network which also received support from the U.S. Agency for International Development. He served on the National Association of State Universities and Land Grant Colleges Commission on International Affairs from 1994-2001 and was part of the United Nations University Task Force, involving participants from universities around the world, on the Nutritional Health Effects of Agricultural Policy from 1982-1986.
Dr. DeWalt has served as a consultant for such organizations as the World Bank, International Finance Corporation, World Wildlife Fund, U.S. Agency for International Development, and the Inter-American Development Bank. He has served on the Boards of the Greater Phoenix Chamber of Commerce, Arizona Citizens for the Arts, the Musical Instrument Museums, Carnegie Museums of Pittsburgh, and The Nature Conservancy (Pennsylvania chapter). Dr. DeWalt holds a Bachelor of Arts and a PhD degree in cultural anthropology from the University of Connecticut where he was named Honors Distinguished Alumnus in 2012.