David J. Skorton Named 13th Secretary of the Smithsonian

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  • On March 10, 2014, the Smithsonian's Board of Regents named Dr. David J. Skorton as the 13th Secretary of the Smithsonian Institution. He succeeds G. Wayne Clough and assumes his tenure as Secretary in July 2015.
  • Prior to coming to the Smithsonian, Skorton, born in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, served as President of Cornell University from 2006-2015, where he also worked as a professor in the Departments of Medicine and Pediatrics at Weill Cornell Medical College, and in the Department of Biomedical Engineering at the College of Engineering. Skorton's major initiatives at Cornell included partnering Cornell with Technion-Israel Institute of Technology to win an international competition to develop a new type of graduate school, Cornell NYC Tech, under development on Roosevelt Island in New York City, raising awareness and support for the humanities, and effectively fund raising for university initiatives.
  • Skorton also served as the President of the University of Iowa from 2003-2006 and was a member of the university's faculty for 26 years. Skorton earned his bachelor's degree from Northwestern University in psychology in 1970. He also earned his M.D. from Northwestern University in 1974 and completed his medical residency and fellowship in cardiology at the University of California, Los Angeles in 1979.
  • As a researcher, Skorton's focus is congenital heart disease, cardiac imaging and image processing. He is a pioneer in applying computer analysis to cardiac imaging and is a co-founder of the University of Iowa's Adolescent and Adult Congenital Heart Disease Clinic and the Society for Adult Congenital Cardiac Disease, now the International Society for Adult Congenital Heart Disease.
  • In addition to his academic interests, Skorton in an advocate of immigration reform, college affordability, mental health issues, and gun violence reform. Skorton is also a jazz musician who plays the saxophone and flute.


  • Skorton, David J
  • McCarter, John W., Jr 1938-
  • Clough, G. Wayne
  • Cornell University
  • University of Iowa
  • Board of Regents


Chronology of Smithsonian History


"Message from John McCarter, Chair, Board of Regents: David J. Skorton Elected 13th Secretary of the Smithsonian, SI," SI Email Announcements, Mon 3/10/2014 11:55 AM.

Contact information

Institutional History Division, Smithsonian Institution Archives, 600 Maryland Avenue, SW, Washington, D.C. 20024-2520, SIHistory@si.edu


March 10, 2014


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