A lifelong educator, Roberts earned his PhD in American History from the University of Texas. After several years of teaching history at the collegiate level, Roberts in 2006 left the university to found John Paul the Great Academy, a co-ed, K-12 Catholic liberal arts school in Lafayette, Louisiana. Roberts served as the academy’s president and headmaster for seven years.
In 2013, he resigned from the academy to become President of Wyoming Catholic College. Under his leadership, the college adopted a policy of refusing to accept federal student loans and grants, lest it be forced to violate Catholic tenets. This independent stance led The New York Times to describe the school as being full of “cowboy Catholics.”
Roberts next served as the Chief Executive Officer of the Texas Public Policy Foundation (TPPF), an Austin-based nonprofit, nonpartisan research institute and the largest state think tank in the nation. Under Roberts’ leadership, TPPF more than doubled in size. He also expanded the Texas think tank’s influence nationwide, opening an office in Washington, D.C., so that TPPF research might better inform federal policy debates.
In October 2021, he was named President of The Heritage Foundation , succeeding former Heritage President Kay C. James as the seventh President in the organization’s 50-year history. A nonprofit, nonpartisan research and education institute, The Heritage Foundation is the nation’s premier conservative think tank. It is the most broadly supported think tank in the world, drawing support from more than 500,000 members. Heritage’s policy impact is also unrivaled, with the University of Pennsylvania’s annual report on think tanks recognizing Heritage three years in a row as the think tank with the most significant impact on public policy.
In addition to his doctorate, Roberts holds a master’s degree in History from Virginia Tech and a bachelor’s degree in History from the University of Louisiana at Lafayette. Roberts and his wife have four children.