Theodore Roosevelt Presidential Library hires Laura Block as Chief Operating Officer

Herbert Norat
Special to Devils Lake Daily Journal

MEDORA, NORTH DAKOTA — The Theodore Roosevelt Presidential Library Foundation has hired Laura Block as the organization’s first-ever Chief Operating Officer. 

Block, a native of Grand Forks, North Dakota, recently served as Associate Dean and Chief Operations Officer of the University of North Dakota School of Medicine & Health Sciences. Prior to that role, she was the CFO of the University of North Dakota Alumni Association & Foundation for over ten years, including during the UND Spirit Campaign which raised over $324 million for the state’s oldest and largest university.

“Laura is a proven strategic thinker and leader,” Edward O’Keefe, Chief Executive Officer of the Theodore Roosevelt Presidential Library Foundation said of Block’s hiring. “She brings a tremendous track record of financial oversight, discipline, and innovation.”

In her role at UND, she was responsible for all financial functions at the State’s only medical school. She prepared, implemented, and optimized an annual budget of approximately $100 million including direct oversight of the Finance team and provided shared services to 45 department finance functions.

As CFO of the official fundraising and private gift-receiving organization at UND, Block reported directly to the CEO of UND Alumni Association & Foundation. She played a strategic role in building and guiding all financial activities and was responsible for the management of their $275 million investment portfolio.

“As a board member and co-chair of the UND Spirit Campaign, I worked with Laura at the UND Alumni Association & Foundation,” said Linda Pancratz, chair of the Theodore Roosevelt Presidential Library Foundation. “She is a highly respected, consummate professional who has given back to North Dakota in so many ways and will do so again in this critical role. Laura was essential to the success of UND, and she will be vital to the success of the T.R. Library too.”

From 2001-2006, Block was Vice President, Investment and Trust Manager at Bremer Bank. She also worked as a senior manager at Brady Martz and Associates in Grand Forks. She received her BSBA in Accounting and an MBA from the University of North Dakota. She is a past president of the Alerus Commission and treasurer of the Empire Arts Center. She currently serves as the Finance & Investment Chair on the Altru Health System Board.

“The Theodore Roosevelt Presidential Library is a historic project for North Dakota and our nation,” said Laura Block of her appointment. “I am humbled and grateful for the opportunity to bring my lifetime of service and knowledge to build the foundation of an organization that will thrive and inspire for generations to come.”

Block will be based in Fargo, North Dakota, with T.R. Library employees now working from Grand Forks, Fargo, Bismarck, and the newly opened main office in Medora, North Dakota, future home of the Theodore Roosevelt Presidential Library.

The Theodore Roosevelt Presidential Library recently held its summer board meeting August 9-10 in Medora.

During their formal meeting, the Board elected Spencer Zwick as a trustee of the Theodore Roosevelt Presidential Library Foundation. Zwick is co-founder and managing partner at Solamere Capital, a $2 billion multi-strategy investment firm. Zwick served as National Finance Chair and Senior Advisor for the 2008 and 2012 Mitt Romney presidential campaigns. 

Zwick is a current member of the Brigham and Women’s Hospital Campaign Cabinet Board and the board of the Lupus Research Alliance. He graduated from Brigham Young University with a degree in Economics and International Studies. Zwick will join the Development and Finance Committees of the Theodore Roosevelt Presidential Library Foundation.

The Board also announced the hiring of the Foundation’s first-ever Vice President of Development. Jeffrey S. Rothenberg joined the T.R. Library team on August 30, 2021, to lead its fundraising operations. 

Rothenberg was the vice president of development for the Sigma Chi Foundation, a national organization based out of Evanston, Illinois. There, Rothenberg managed the team responsible for a multi-year $172M capital campaign. He reported directly to the President and CEO, and led the Sigma Chi Foundation’s annual fund, overall development strategy, and hiring.