The Mellon Foundation today announced the appointment of Sheree Carter-Galvan to the role of Chief Legal Officer of the Foundation and Secretary of the Foundation’s Board of Trustees. She will join Mellon in March after having served as Senior Vice President and General Counsel at the American Museum of Natural History, and—earlier in her career—Senior Associate General Counsel at Yale University.
To Mellon, Carter-Galvan brings legal acumen, organizational leadership experience, and expertise advising clients in a range of settings, including higher education and cultural institutions, a top-tier law firm, and independent practice. Working closely with Mellon President Elizabeth Alexander, and the Foundation’s leadership team, Carter-Galvan will leverage her creative, yet grounded and solutions-driven orientation as she leads the Foundation’s legal department and serves as a key counselor and strategic advisor, shaping policy and practice across the Foundation.
“Sheree is an exceptionally talented lawyer; a committed steward of the arts, culture, and the humanities; and an accomplished advisor to institutional leaders,” said Mellon Foundation President Elizabeth Alexander. “I am thrilled to welcome her to Mellon and look forward to her partnership as we continue to support the transformative work of the Foundation’s grantees.”
“Joining the Mellon Foundation is the culmination of a legal career spent supporting artists, scholars, institutions of higher education and cultural organizations,” said Carter-Galvan. “With Mellon’s expanded focus on social justice, the work aligns precisely with the issues I care most deeply about. I am honored to have this opportunity to support Elizabeth Alexander’s transformative vision and work with the Board and the entire Mellon team in advancing its mission.”
Throughout her three decades in the legal profession, Carter-Galvan has honed her ability to deftly navigate complex institutional challenges, exercising a tactful approach to consensus-building and strategic problem solving. As Senior Vice President and General Counsel at the American Museum of Natural History, Carter-Galvan led the Museum’s General Counsel’s office, oversaw its Human Resources and Revenue Security departments, and served on the Museum’s leadership team as a senior officer.
Before her time at the American Museum of Natural History, Carter-Galvan served as Senior Associate General Counsel at Yale University for more than 12 years; there she provided legal guidance to diverse stakeholders across the University on a wide range of legal matters, partnered with Yale leadership in advancing strategic initiatives, and was a thought leader in the broad effort among universities to bring their scholarly resources online and expand access to materials within their collections.
Carter-Galvan spent the first 10 years of her career in the New York City offices of the law firm Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison LLP representing preeminent cultural institutions, not-for-profit and commercial entities involved in the sports and entertainment industry, and lauded artists and creatives. Following her time at Paul, Weiss, Sheree started her own practice serving as counsel for education and entertainment-focused organizations.
Carter-Galvan holds a Juris Doctorate (JD) from Yale Law School and a Bachelor of Arts (BA) in Psychology from Harvard University.