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G. Wayne Clough is the 12th Secretary of the Smithsonian Institution; he officially assumed his position July 1, 2008.
Clough, 66, was president of the Georgia Institute of Technology from 1994 to 2008. He transformed the Atlanta-based university into one of the top public universities in the country. During his tenure, Georgia Tech’s academic reach stretched throughout the world, with research and education platforms in France, Ireland, Singapore and Shanghai; annual research expenditures increased from $212 million to $473 million; and enrollment increased from 13,000 to more than 18,000.
While improving Georgia Tech’s reputation for science and engineering, Clough also emphasized the importance of humanities. He established two endowed chairs in poetry; expanded the music department; encouraged the development of interdisciplinary degrees that combine technology with the liberal arts; and 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, having led two capital campaigns and raised more than $1.6 billion in private gifts.
Clough’s long-standing commitment to diversity has figured prominently in Georgia Tech’s development. Under his leadership, the university established sophisticated programs for faculty and students designed to increase the number of women and underrepresented minorities in engineering and science. He forged relationships with institutions that do not offer engineering degrees to establish dual-degree programs with Georgia Tech. During his tenure, Georgia Tech became a national leader in graduating minority and female engineers.
Clough has extensive experience in public policy issues at the local, state and national levels. He is the only person appointed by the president to both the National Science Board (the governing body of the National Science Foundation) and the President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology. He is vice chair of the U.S. Council on Competitiveness, a nonprofit organization focused on the development and implementation of an action agenda to improve the competitive position of the United States in the global economy; co-chair of the council’s National Innovation Initiative; chair of the National Academies’ Committee on New Orleans Regional Hurricane Protection Projects, which advises the U.S. Department of Defense; and a member of the board of directors for the National Action Council for Minorities in Engineering.
Clough has spoken and written extensively about innovation, higher education policy, diversity, economic development and technology. In addition, he has published more than 130 papers and reports, and has written six book chapters in geotechnical engineering. He is featured in a chapter (“The Right Stuff”) of Thomas L. Friedman’s book, “The World is Flat, A Brief History of the 21st Century.” Friedman credits Clough as a visionary leader who worked to rethink an entire university strategy, beginning with an admissions policy that he broadened to produce a more well-rounded student.
Clough is widely recognized for his teaching and research. He has received nine national awards from the American Society of Civil Engineers, most recently the 2004 OPAL Lifetime Achievement Award for contributions to education. He 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 (1993-1994). He served as dean of the College of Engineering at Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University (1990-1993) after being promoted from professor of civil engineering to head of the civil engineering department (1983-1990). He also was an associate then full professor at Stanford University (1974-1982) and assistant then associate professor at Duke University (1969-1974).
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 the University of California at Berkeley. He was born Sept. 24, 1941, in Douglas, Ga. He and his wife, Anne, have two children, Matthew and Eliza, and two grandchildren.
Clough succeeded Lawrence M. Small, who resigned as Secretary of the Smithsonian March 26, 2007.