Woodrow Wilson Presidential Library Announces Appointments of Peter F. deVaux as Honorary Chair and Three New Trustees

STAUNTON, VIRGINIA— The Woodrow Wilson Presidential Library Foundation today announced that its Board of Trustees has appointed Peter F. deVaux as Honorary Chair of the Foundation, the third person so honored in the 71 year history of the Foundation.  The Foundation also announced the election of Stephan W. Milo of Staunton, Virginia; Haskell Rhett of Afton, Virginia; and R. Reed Whitaker of Kansas City, Missouri; as new Trustees for three-year terms that will begin on July 1.    

Dr. A. Stanley Link, Jr., Chair of the Board of the WWPL, said, “We are pleased that Pete has agreed to serve as Honorary Chair and that Steve, Haskell, and Reed are joining the Board.  Along with the leadership of Don W. Wilson as our incoming President, Pete and these new Trustees will provide expertise and experience to the Foundation and will ensure that there are exciting times ahead for the Woodrow Wilson Presidential Library and Museum.”

Peter deVaux served as Chair of the Woodrow Wilson Presidential Library from 1999 to 2007.  His career included senior financial executive positions at two advertising firms, Young and Rubicam in New York and Chiat/Day in Los Angeles, before he retired to Augusta County.  After he completed his service as Chair of the Foundation, he and his wife, Paula, moved to British Columbia, Canada.   

Stephan Milo is a partner in the Staunton office of Wharton Aldhizer & Weaver, a Harrisonburg, Virginia-based law firm.  His areas of practice include the law governing nonprofit organizations and the law governing wills, estates, and trusts.  He is a graduate of Bridgewater College and Seton Hall University School of Law and has been named one of “Virginia’s Legal Elite” and one of the “Best Lawyers in America” by Virginia Business magazine.  

Haskell Rhett is President Emeritus of the Woodrow Wilson National Fellowship Foundation.  He has served as Vice President of The College Board, Director of the Educational Testing Service, and Assistant Chancellor of Higher Education for New Jersey.  He has a Ph.D. and Master’s degree from Cornell University and completed fellowships at Harvard University and the University of London.  

Reed Whitaker is Regional Administrator of the National Archives at Kansas City.  He is a professional archivist with degrees in history and political science and was co-chairman of the 1990 Eisenhower Centennial.  He has served under six Archivists of the United States, including incoming WWPL President Don Wilson.   

Mr. deVaux succeeds the late Dolores Lescure, who served as Honorary Chair for 13 years beginning in 1993.  The late Dr. Arthur S. Link, a famous Wilson scholar, was the Foundation’s first Honorary Chair.  The three new Trustees are replacing retiring Board members Hampden H. Smith, III, of Lexington; Rita M. Smith of Richmond; and Wilson F. Vellines, Jr., of Staunton; who were appointed as Associate Trustees of the Foundation.

did you know?

Wilson was president throughout World War I. He sought a neutral position for the United States and even won reelection with the slogan “He kept us out of war.” Nonetheless, actions by the Central Powers (notably Germany) threatened this neutrality. Following years of attacks on American shipping and citizens on the high seas, particularly the sinking of the RMS Lusitania, public opinion began to turn. The final straw came with the release of the Zimmerman Telegram, forcing the United States to declare war on the Central Powers in April of 1917, joining the war on the side of the UK, Russia, and France.

Woodrow Wilson was President when the 19th amendment was ratified in 1920 giving women the right to vote.

Wilson piloted the ship that brought America onto the world stage. He made the first steps of leading us out of isolationism, violating Washington's tenet of avoiding foreign entanglements.

He led America during World War I. His fervent hope was for the US to join a League of Nations, the precursor to the United Nations.

A Woodrow Wilson Quote: "Life does not consist in thinking, it consists in acting."

A Woodrow Wilson Quote: "The Constitution was not made to fit us like a straitjacket. In its elasticity lies its chief greatness."

A Woodrow Wilson Quote: "I believe in democracy because it releases the energies of every human being."

The Seventeenth Amendment was formally adopted on May 31, 1913. Wilson had been president for almost three months at the time. The amendment provided for the direct election of senators. Prior to its adoption, Senators were chosen by state legislatures.

Wilson was the first president to receive a PhD which he got in Political Science from Johns Hopkins University. He had received his undergraduate degree from the College of New Jersey, renamed Princeton University in 1896.

Woodrow Wilson could not read during the first decade of his life. Though undiagnosed, he may have suffered from a learning disability

Woodrow Wilson was known as "Tommy" until his college years.

Woodrow Wilson during his boyhood, helped establish the "Lightfoot Baseball Club" with his friends. Wilson played second base and was an avid sport fan throughout his adult life.

Woodrow Wilson was the first president to attend the Major League Baseball Fall Classic. He saw the debut of a young 20 year old pitcher by the name of George Herman "Babe" Ruth.

Woodrow Wilson was a graduate of Princeton University and Johns Hopkins University and the only president to hold an earned doctoral degree.

Woodrow Wilson image is on the $100,000 bill although it is no longer in circulation