Robert Stanton (park director)

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
Robert G. Stanton
Robert G Stanton(Director NPS).jpg
Robert G. Stanton
Born (1940-09-22) September 22, 1940 (age 74)
Fort Worth, Texas
Occupation Director of the National Park Service

Robert G. Stanton (born September 22, 1940) is a career civil service administrator, who served for almost four decades in the United States National Park Service. He was the first African American to be appointed as the Director of the Park Service, serving 1997-2001.[1]

Stanton had chiefly directed regional programs in the National Capital Region of the Washington, DC metropolitan area, which includes many significant historic and cultural monuments, buildings and parks in the area, as well as wide-ranging responsibilities for handling large groups of visitors, public events such as presidential inaugurations on the Mall, and demonstrations. Stanton began his career in 1962 as a seasonal ranger at Grand Teton National Park.[2] Stanton advanced in the career service into management positions, serving as well in the Virgin Islands and the Southeast Region, based in Atlanta, Georgia. He became assistant director and regional director of the National Capital Region before his initial retirement in January 1997.

As Director, Stanton supported increasing staff diversity, as well as programs to ensure recognition of cultural and historic sites related to contributions of minority peoples in the United States. He worked to improve the agency's public programs to better serve minority populations.[3]

Early life and education[edit]

Robert Stanton was born in Fort Worth, Texas, where he grew up in Mosier Valley, one of the oldest African-American communities in the state. He earned a B.S. degree in 1963, from Huston-Tillotson University, a historically black university in Austin, Texas. He did graduate work at Boston University and George Washington University.[4]


Title From TO
Superintendent, National Capital Parks-East[5] 8/23/1970 8/22/1971
Superintendent, Virgin Islands National Park[5] 8/22/1971 2/1/1974
Dept. Reg. Dir., Southeast Region[5] 4/28/1974 3/27/1976
Asst Dir., Resource Mgnt[5] 3/29/1976 5/15/1976
Asst Dir., Park Operations[5] 5/28/1977 12/31/1978
Dep. Reg.Dir., National Capital Parks[5] 5/28/1977 12/31/1978
Assoc Dir., Park Operations[5] 6/21/1987 12/17/1988
Director 8/4/1997 1/2001

Stanton began his Federal career as a seasonal park ranger at Grand Teton National Park, Wyoming, during the summers of 1962 and 1963, when he was completing college.

He took a full-time position with the National Park Service in 1966, as a personnel management and public information specialist in the headquarters at Washington, D.C. In 1969, he moved to National Capital Parks-Central, as a management assistant, gaining experience in the regional operations, where many of the properties are ones of historic and cultural significance. In 1970, he was promoted to superintendent of National Capital Parks-East.

In 1971, he was selected as superintendent of Virgin Islands National Park, St. Thomas and gained experience in the Caribbean. In 1974, he was promoted to Deputy Regional Director of the Southeast Region, based in Atlanta, Georgia.

In 1976, Stanton returned to Washington, D.C., as Assistant Director, Park Operations. In 1978 he was selected as Deputy Regional Director of the National Capital Region, a position he held for eight years. In 1987, he returned to headquarters as Associate Director for Operations. In 1988 he was selected as the Regional Director of the National Capital Region, where he served until his retirement from career service in 1997. Through this period, he has expanded the NPS development of private-public partnerships to achieve goals of recognizing and protecting cultural properties, as well as expanded recognition of properties and programs recognizing contributions by minority populations.[6]

Later that same year, Stanton was called from retirement into public service when appointed as the 15th National Park Service Director by President Bill Clinton. He served from August 1997 until January 2001. He was the first African American to be appointed to this position, as well as the first career civil service employee appointed to it since Russell E. Dickenson's term from 1980 to 1985. (Note: Roger Kennedy, Director from 1993 to 1997, was employeed as an attorney with the Departments of Labor and Justice, but spent only a part of his varied career with the Federal government.)

Through his career, he completed numerous programs in conservation, management, and executive leadership.[4] Stanton is also an executive professor in the Department of Recreation, Park and Tourism Sciences at Texas A&M University.


  1. ^ Director, National Park Service
  2. ^ name="ReferenceA">"Biography: Robert G. Stanton"], Press Release, National Park Service, 6 June 2000
  3. ^ [1]
  4. ^ a b Press Release, Biography, National Park Service, June 6, 2000
  5. ^ a b c d e f g Historic Listing of National Park Service Officials; U.S. Department of the Interior; May 1991; pg 148
  6. ^ [2]

See also[edit]

Government offices
Preceded by
Roger G. Kennedy
Director of the National Park Service
1997 – 2001
Succeeded by
Fran P. Mainella