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CMU Community Mourns Trustee Emeritus Jim Walton

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Shilpa Bakre
University Communications & Marketing

James Walton

The Carnegie Mellon University community is mourning the loss of Trustee Emeritus James M. "Jim" Walton (right), who passed away on Jan. 2, 2022, at age 91. Walton served on CMU's Board of Trustees from 1969 until 2013. He became an emeritus trustee in 2000.

"We are deeply saddened to learn of Jim Walton's passing," said CMU President Farnam Jahanian(opens in new window). "Jim was a longstanding member of the Board of Trustees(opens in new window) and his many contributions to the board helped shaped CMU into the institution it is today. He and his wife, Ellen, were loyal philanthropic supporters for more than three decades, including endowing a scholarship for graduate students in the Tepper School of Business(opens in new window). The mark he's left on CMU is indelible."

Walton served on a number of trustee committees during his tenure, including the development, executive, nominating and property and facilities committees. He also was a member of the School of Drama(opens in new window) Advisory Board. Walton's late father, John, also served as a CMU trustee. In 2003, Walton received an honorary doctorate in humane letters from CMU in recognition of his distinguished career in business and community service.

"Jim Walton was a tremendously distinguished member of the Pittsburgh business community and local community-serving organizations," said David Coulter(opens in new window), chair of the CMU Board of Trustees. "He came from a long line of community advocates and philanthropists and spent the majority of his career contributing to some of Pittsburgh's most influential organizations, such as the Carnegie Museums and The Heinz Endowments. We're honored that Jim included CMU in the extensive list of organizations where he served."

From 1958 to 1967, Walton worked for Gulf Oil Corporation, which was founded by his grandfather William Larimer Mellon, and in 1970 was elected to Gulf's board. He also served as a director and vice chairman of MMC Group Inc., which was organized in 1985 to manage Maverick Fund I, an investment partnership.

From January 1968 until August 1984, Walton was president of the Carnegie Institute, now known as the Carnegie Museums of Pittsburgh, and the Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh. Following his retirement, he remained a life trustee and was elected president emeritus of the board. He also was a trustee and chairman of the Vira Heinz Endowment and vice chairman and vice chairman emeritus of The Heinz Endowments. In 1985, President Ronald Reagan appointed Walton to a four-year term on the National Graduate Fellows Program Fellowship Board.

Walton was born in Pittsburgh on Dec. 18, 1930. He was the son of John F. and Rachel Larimer Mellon Walton and the grandson of the late William Larimer Mellon, founder of Carnegie Mellon's graduate school of business, now the Tepper School of Business.

Walton earned a bachelor's degree in English literature from Yale University in 1953 and a master's degree in business administration from Harvard University in 1958. He served as a first lieutenant in the U.S. Army during the period between completing his bachelor's degree and beginning his master's degree.