News Releases

G. Wayne Clough Named Secretary of the Smithsonian Institution

March 15, 2008

The Smithsonian Institution's Board of Regents announced today (March 15) that G. Wayne Clough, president of the Georgia Institute of Technology, has been unanimously elected the 12th Secretary of the Smithsonian. He will officially assume the office July 1.

Roger Sant, chairman of the Board of Regents, said that Clough will usher in a new era at the Smithsonian, "bringing a unique combination of academic achievement, talent, leadership skills and experience in public service, science, management and development."

"During his remarkable career, Wayne has shown an ability to dramatically advance the institutions and constituencies he has served through innovative curricula, economic health, mentorship, national policy input and community relations," said Alan Spoon, a member of the Board of Regents and chairman of the search committee.

Clough, 66, became president of Georgia Tech in 1994. In less than 15 years, he transformed the Atlanta-based university into one of the top public universities in the country. During his tenure, Georgia Tech's academic reach has stretched throughout the world, with campuses in France, Ireland, Singapore and Shanghai. Annual research expenditures have increased from $212 million to $425 million; enrollment has increased from 13,000 to more than 18,000; and the university has consistently ranked among the nation's top 10 public research universities.

While improving Georgia Tech's reputation for science, Clough has emphasized the importance of humanities education. He established two endowed chairs in poetry. He also has strengthened the university's commitment to public policy and public service.

Clough leaves a fundraising legacy at Georgia Tech that is unmatched in the history of the university, leading two capital campaigns that have raised nearly $1.5 billion in private gifts.

With extensive experience in public policy issues at the local, state and national levels, Clough currently serves on the President's Council of Advisors on Science and Technology (PCAST) and on the National Science Board (the governing body of the National Science Foundation). Both appointments required Senate confirmation. He is also vice chair of the U.S. Council on Competitiveness, a nonprofit focused on eliminating barriers that make the United States less competitive in the sciences, wireless communication and innovation.

Clough has taken a leading role on the National Academies' Committee on New Orleans Regional Hurricane Protection Projects, which serves as an advisory committee to the Corps of Engineers.

Clough has spoken and written extensively about innovation, higher education policy, diversity, economic development and technology; he has published more than 130 papers and reports and written six book chapters. He was the subject of a chapter in Thomas L. Friedman's book, "The World is Flat, A Brief History of the 21st Century," in which Friedman credits Clough as a visionary leader who had to rethink an entire university strategy, beginning with an admissions policy that focused too much on engineering and not enough on such creative activities as music, poetry and team sports.

Clough has been widely recognized for his teaching and research. He has received nine national awards from the American Society of Civil Engineers, most recently the OPAL Lifetime Achievement Award for contributions to education. Clough is one of a handful of engineers to have been twice-awarded civil engineering's oldest recognition—the Norman Medal—in 1992 and 1996.

Prior to becoming Georgia Tech's president, Clough—a graduate of the university's civil engineering program—was Provost and Vice President of Academic Affairs at the University of Washington. He served as dean of the College of Engineering at Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University after being promoted from professor of civil engineering to head of the civil engineering department. He also was an associate professor at Stanford University and Duke University.

Clough earned his bachelor's and master's degrees in civil engineering from Georgia Tech in 1964 and 1965 and his doctorate in civil engineering in 1969 from University of California at Berkeley. He was born in Douglas, Ga. He and his wife, Anne, married during his junior year at Georgia Tech and they have two children: Matthew, a 1994 graduate of Virginia Tech, and Eliza, who attends college in Virginia.

Clough succeeds Lawrence M. Small, who resigned as Smithsonian Secretary March 26, 2007.

The Search Process
The Smithsonian's Board of Regents announced the formation of a committee to search for a new Secretary in May 2007. In June, the Board contracted with the Boston-based executive search firm Isaacson, Miller, following a competitive bidding process. The Regent's nine-member search committee, chaired by Alan Spoon, and Isaacson, Miller conducted meetings with key Smithsonian stakeholders, employees and the public to solicit their views on the next Secretary. Isaacson, Miller conducted interviews in January and February 2008, and the full Board of Regents voted on the new Secretary of the Smithsonian Friday, March 14.

About the Board of Regents
The 17-member Board of Regents, the governing body of the Smithsonian Institution, includes the chief justice of the United States and the vice president of the United States, both ex officio members of the Board. The Board includes three members of the Senate, three members of the House of Representatives and nine citizen members, nominated by the Board and approved by the Congress in a joint resolution signed by the president of the United States.

About the Smithsonian
The Smithsonian Institution was founded in 1846, with a generous bequest from British scientist James Smithson (1765-1829) to found at Washington an establishment for "the increase and diffusion of knowledge." The Institution is a museum and research complex of 19 museums and galleries and the National Zoological Park, as well as nine research facilities.

The Smithsonian protects the nation's treasures, including moon rocks, the Hope Diamond, Gilbert Stuart's "Lansdowne" portrait of George Washington, the Star-Spangled Banner, the Wright Flyer and much more. The Smithsonian's collections—more than 137 million artifacts, works of art and scientific specimens—document the nation's history and heritage and represent the world's natural and cultural diversity. More than 24 million people from around the world visited the museums and the National Zoo in 2007, and there were nearly 183 million virtual visits to www.smithsonian.org.

The Smithsonian has 6,300 employees. It has 159 affiliate museums in 39 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico and Panama. The Smithsonian Institution Traveling Exhibition Service (SITES), the largest traveling exhibition service in the world, reaches roughly 5 million people across the country every year.

The Institution has a total annual budget of nearly $1 billion. The federal appropriation for fiscal year 2008 is $682 million; the Institution is approximately 70 percent federally funded.

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SI-138-2008

Media Only
Linda St. Thomas
(202) 633-5188
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Becky Haberacker
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Related photos: 

Wayne Clough, Secretary of the Smithsonian Institution

Wayne Clough is the 12th Secretary of the Smithsonian Institution, leading the world’s largest museum and research complex with 19 museums, nine research centers, the National Zoo and research activities in more than 90 countries.

Photo Credit: Ken Rahaim, Smithsonian Institution
 



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