G. Wayne Clough, 1941-

G. Wayne Clough, by Hansen, Carl C, July 26, 2008, Smithsonian Archives - History Div, Clough_Wayne_Smithsonianthb.G. Wayne Clough, a civil engineer and past president of Georgia Institute of Technology (Georgia Tech), currently serves as the Smithsonian’s twelfth Secretary. Born in 1941 in Douglas, Georgia, Clough is the first Secretary from a southern state. He attended Georgia Tech and received both his BS and MS degrees in civil engineering. He then went on to the University of California, Berkeley, to earn his PhD in 1969. Clough was a professor at Duke University, Stanford University, and Virginia Institute of Technology, before returning to serve as president of Georgia Tech in 1994. For the next fourteen years, Clough made his mark on the school by upgrading its facilities and increasing its fundraising.

A Return to Tradition

Clough in Antarctica, by Peterson, Tom, 2010, Smithsonian Archives - History Div, ATM-Castle-G-Wayne-Clough-in-Antarctica-631.

After the tenure of businessman Lawrence Small, the Smithsonian Board of Regents returned to a more traditional Secretary, and appointed from within academia. Clough became Secretary in July 2008 and quickly acquainted himself with the large and complex Institution. He traveled to all of the Institution’s nineteen museums and nine research centers, and learned about the many research activities taking place in more than ninety countries. He even made a trip to Antarctica—the first Secretary to do so. Since he has taken office, the Smithsonian has reopened the National Museum of American History, and opened both the David H. Koch Hall of Human Origins and Sant Ocean Hall at the National Museum of Natural History.

Planning for a 21st Century Institution

Secretary Clough, April 9, 2010, Smithsonian Archives - History Div, Clough_bw.A major part of Clough’s tenure thus far has been the development of a new Smithsonian Strategic Plan. The plan consists of four grand challenges: Unlocking the Mysteries of the Universe; Understanding and Sustaining a Biodiverse Planet; Valuing World Cultures; and Understanding the American Experience. Another major goal for Secretary Clough is to make the Institution’s vast collections more accessible and available to everyone. All of the Institution’s museums are currently digitizing selections from the Smithsonian’s 137 million objects. He has also organized a new educational initiative across the Institution and expanded scientific literacy. Clough envisions an interdisciplinary approach to the Institution and hopes to expand the Smithsonian’s global relevance and shape its future through research, education, and scientific discovery.

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Planning for a 21st Century Institution