- Get Involved
Congress vested responsibility for the administration of the Smithsonian in a 17-member Board of Regents.
As specified in the Smithsonian's charter, the Chief Justice of the United States and the Vice President of the United States are ex officio members of the Board, meaning that they serve as a duty of their office. The Chief Justice also serves as the Chancellor of the Smithsonian.
There are six congressional Regents: three Senators are appointed by the President pro tempore of the United States Senate and three Representatives are appointed by the Speaker of the United States House of Representatives. Their terms on the Board coincide with their elected terms in Congress, and they may be reappointed to the Board if reelected.
Nine Regents are from the general public, two of whom must reside in the District of Columbia and seven of whom must be inhabitants of the 50 states (but no two from the same state). Each is nominated by the Board of Regents and appointed for a statutory term of six years by a Joint Resolution of the Congress, which is then signed into law by the President. In accordance with the Bylaws adopted by the Board of Regents in 1979, citizen members may not serve more than two successive terms.
The members of the Board of Regents are:
John G. Roberts, Jr., the 17th Chief Justice of the United States, served as a law clerk for Judge Henry J. Friendly of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit from 1979 to 1980 and as a law clerk for then-Associate Justice William H. Rehnquist of the Supreme Court of the United States during the 1980 term. He served as a Special Assistant to the Attorney General of the United States from 1981 to 1982, as Associate Counsel to President Ronald Reagan from 1982 to 1986, and as Principal Deputy Solicitor General from 1989 to 1993. From 1986 to 1989 and 1993 to 2003, he practiced law in Washington, D.C. He served as a judge on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit from 2003 to 2005. Nominated as Chief Justice of the United States by President George W. Bush, he assumed that office on September 29, 2005.
Joseph R. Biden, Jr., is the 47th Vice President of the United States. Previously a Senator from Delaware for 36 years, he established himself as a leader on many of the nation's most important challenges. As Chairman or Ranking Member of the Senate Judiciary Committee for 17 years, he championed the landmark 1994 Crime Bill and the Violence Against Women Act. As Chairman or Ranking Member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee since 1997, he played a pivotal role in shaping U.S. foreign policy. As Vice President, he has continued his leadership on important issues. He was charged with implementing the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, helping to rebuild the nation's economy and lay the foundation for a sustainable economic future. Vice President Biden continues to draw on his foreign policy experience, advising President Obama on a multitude of international issues and representing the nation in every region of the world. He helped secure the Senate's approval of the New START nuclear arms reduction treaty with Russia and played a lead role in ending the war in Iraq responsibly. He also has supported the Administration's effort to reestablish U.S. leadership in the Asia Pacific and worked with Latin American leaders to combat drug trafficking and international crime.
Patrick Leahy, a Democrat from Vermont and former prosecutor, has served since 1975 in the Senate, where his legislative leadership focuses on foreign policy, national security, human rights, and humanitarian relief; technology law and innovation, privacy rights, civil liberties, and government transparency; and farm policy, environmental protection, and conservation. Ranking first in seniority, Senator Leahy is President Pro Tempore of the Senate and Chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee. He also is the most senior member of the Agriculture and Appropriations committees, and serves on the Rules and Administration Committee. He chairs the Appropriations Committee's Subcommittee on the Department of State and Foreign Operations, and sits on its Defense; Interior, Environment; Commerce, Justice, Science; Transportation, Housing and Urban Development; and Homeland Security subcommittees. He was installed in the FOIA Hall of Fame for championing open government and is one of only two politicians ever awarded the John Peter Zenger Press Freedom Award. Senator Leahy co-founded and continues to co-chair the Congressional Internet Caucus. A Co-Chair of the Senate National Guard Caucus, he received the Harry S. Truman Award, the highest civilian honor of the National Guard Association.
Xavier Becerra, a Democrat from California, was first elected to the House in 1992. Representative Becerra serves as the Chairman of the House Democratic Caucus and is the Ranking Member of the Ways and Means Subcommittee on Social Security. He served on President Barack Obama's bipartisan National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform, and was a member of the Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction. Congressman Becerra is a member of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus, which he chaired during the 105th Congress, and a member of the Executive Committee of the Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus. He serves on the Smithsonian National Latino Board and represents the Regents on the Council of the National Museum of African American History and Culture.
Tom Cole, a Republican from Oklahoma, was elected to Congress in 2002. He is a strong advocate for national defense, taxpayers, and small businesses. An enrolled member of the Chickasaw Nation, he also is a leader on issues dealing with Native Americans and tribal governments. Representative Cole serves on the House Appropriations Committee and its Defense and Interior, and Transportation, Housing and Urban Development subcommittees. He also serves on the House Budget and the House Rules committees. Widely regarded as one of the GOP's top political strategists, Representative Cole serves as a Deputy Whip for the Republican Conference and is a member of the Republican Steering Committee. In addition, he is a member of the Congressional Advisory Board to the Aspen Institute. Representative Cole was awarded the Congressional Leadership award by the National Congress of American Indians in both 2007 and 2011, and was inducted in the Chickasaw Hall of Fame in 2004. He holds a PhD from the University of Oklahoma and was a Fulbright Fellow at the University of London.
Sam Johnson, a Republican from Texas and a member of the House since 1991, is a decorated war hero who flew fighter jets in the Korean and Vietnam wars and endured nearly seven years as a Prisoner of War in Hanoi, including 42 months in solitary confinement. Following his 29-year career in the U.S. Air Force, he established a home-building business in Texas and served in the Texas State legislature. Representative Johnson is currently a member of the House Committee on Ways and Means where he chairs the Social Security Subcommittee and serves on the Joint Committee on Taxation. In 2009, he was recognized by his peers as the “most admired” Republican member of the U.S. House of Representatives, and was awarded the National Patriot Award, the Congressional Medal of Honor Society's highest civilian accolade, for his work on behalf of American troops, veterans, and freedom. In 2011, he accepted the Living Legends of Aviation's “Freedom of Flight” award. Representative Johnson represents the Board of Regents on the Advisory Board of the National Air and Space Museum.
Barbara Barrett of Paradise Valley, Arizona, is the owner of Triple Creek Guest Ranch in Montana and serves on the boards of RAND, Sally Ride Science, and Aerospace corporations; the Horatio Alger Association; and the Lasker and Space foundations. Previously, she was Interim President of Thunderbird School of Global Management, U.S. Ambassador to Finland, Senior Advisor to the U.S. Mission to the United Nations, CEO of the American Management Association, a Teaching Fellow at Harvard's Kennedy School, a partner in a large Phoenix law firm, and a member of the boards of Raytheon, Exponent, Piper Aircraft, Mayo Clinic, Hershey School and Trust, and Harvard's Institute of Politics. During the Reagan Administration, she served as the Deputy Administrator of the Federal Aviation Administration and Vice Chairman of the Civil Aeronautics Board. She was President of the International Women's Forum, Chairman of the Secretary of Commerce's Export Conference, and Chairman of the U.S. Advisory Commission on Public Diplomacy. Ambassador Barrett participates with the Global Leadership Foundation, Club of Madrid, World Economic Forum, and Council on Foreign Relations. She is an instrument-rated pilot and certified astronaut.
Steve M. Case, a resident of McLean, Virginia, is an entrepreneur, innovator, and philanthropist who invests in diverse for-profit and nonprofit enterprises. In April 2005, he launched Revolution, a company that seeks to drive transformative change by partnering with entrepreneurs to build businesses that give people more choice, control, and convenience in important areas of their lives. Prior to starting Revolution, Mr. Case was the Co-Founder, Chairman, and CEO of America Online, Inc. (AOL) and, later, the Chairman of AOL Time Warner. As Co-Founder of AOL, he played an integral role in building the world's largest Internet company and helped transform how people communicate, learn, and conduct business. Mr. Case is the Co-Founder and Chair of the Case Foundation, which seeks to democratize philanthropy, encourage civic engagement, and promote innovative technologies that facilitate both. As members of the Giving Pledge, an effort started by Bill Gates and Warren Buffett, Mr. Case and his wife, Jean Case, have publicly affirmed their commitment to give away the majority of their wealth to charitable causes. In addition, Mr. Case chairs the Startup America Partnership, co-chairs the National Advisory Council on Innovation and Entrepreneurship, and serves on President Obama's Council on Jobs and Competiveness. He is Chairman of Accelerate Brain Cancer Cure, a founding organizer of Business Strengthening America, and has served as Vice Chair of the Committee to Encourage Corporate Philanthropy.
John Fahey of Washington, D.C., has served as Chairman of the National Geographic Society since January 2011. He served as CEO of National Geographic from 1998 to 2013 and as President from 1998 to 2010. As President and CEO, he led an evolution of the National Geographic Society, including its entry into cable television, the international growth of National Geographic magazine, and the extension of National Geographic content into digital media. He also advanced the Society's efforts to improve geographic literacy and guided the expansion of the Society's international Mission Programs. In 2011, he received Peru's highest civilian award, "Orden del Sol del Peru," for his and National Geographic's role in helping retrieve a collection of ancient artifacts taken from Machu Picchu in 1912. Before joining National Geographic, he was Chairman, President, and CEO of Time Life Inc. He also worked for Home Box Office, where he was instrumental in the startup of CINEMAX. He currently is the lead director of the Time Inc. Board of Directors and serves on the boards of Johnson Outdoors and Great Plains Investment LLC. He also is a member of the Board and Executive Committee of the National Museum of Natural History.
Shirley Ann Jackson of New York is President of Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. She has held senior leadership positions in government, industry, research, and academe. Her research and policy focus includes energy security and the national capacity for innovation. A theoretical physicist, she was Chairman of the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission. She serves on the President's Council of Advisors on Science and Technology (PCAST) and is Co-Chair of PCAST's President's Innovation and Technology Advisory Committee. She also is a member of the International Security Advisory Board to the U.S. Department of State. Dr. Jackson is an International Fellow of the British Royal Academy of Engineering; a Member of the U.S. National Academy of Engineering and the American Philosophical Society; and a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, the American Physical Society, and the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), where she previously served as AAAS President and Chairman of its Board of Directors. She is a member of the Board of the Council on Foreign Relations and The Brookings Institution. She is Vice Chair of the Council on Competitiveness and co-chaired its Energy Security, Innovation and Sustainability initiative. She also is a member of the boards of directors of several global companies.
Robert Kogod, a resident of the District of Columbia, is President of Charles E. Smith Management, LLC. He is the former Co-Chairman and Co-CEO of the Charles E. Smith Commercial Realty LP and Charles E. Smith Residential Realty, Inc. Mr. Kogod serves on the Board of Trustees of Vornado Realty Trust, a real estate investment trust listed on the New York Stock Exchange. Mr. Kogod is involved in a large number of philanthropic activities: Â in addition to being a Smithsonian Regent, he currently serves on the boards of the Hartman Institute, the District of Columbia College Access Program, the Mount Desert Land & Garden Preserve, and the Board of Governors of Hillel International. Mr. Kogod previously served on the boards of American University, Sidwell Friends School, Federal City Council, Economic Club, Progressive Policy Institute, Jewish Community Center of Greater Washington, and Children's Hospital, National Medical Center.
Dr. Risa Lavizzo-Mourey, of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, is the President and CEO of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, the nation's largest philanthropy dedicated solely to health and health care. With more than 30 years of personal experience as a medical practitioner, policy-maker, professor, and nonprofit executive, Dr. Lavizzo-Mourey combines the scientific and ethical values she learned as a doctor with an enduring conviction that meaningful philanthropy must achieve lasting social change. Dr. Lavizzo-Mourey previously served as the Sylvan Eisman Professor of Medicine and Health Care Systems at the University of Pennsylvania. She also directed Penn's Institute on Aging and was Chief of Geriatric Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania's School of Medicine. At the Federal level, she served as Deputy Administrator of what is now the Agency for Health Care Research and Quality and worked on the White House Health Care Reform Task Force; she also has served on numerous Federal advisory committees. Dr. Lavizzo-Mourey is a member of the Institute of Medicine of the National Academy of Sciences.
Michael M. Lynton of Los Angeles, California, is the Chief Executive Officer of Sony Entertainment, a global entertainment business that includes Sony Music Entertainment, Sony/ATV Music Publishing, and Sony Pictures Entertainment. He is also chairman and CEO of Sony Pictures Entertainment, where he manages the studio's overall global operations. Mr. Lynton has positioned Sony Pictures Entertainment on the cutting edge of an industry experiencing rapid technological and global change by focusing on digital transformation, worldwide growth, content diversity, and financial discipline. Sony Pictures has been an industry leader in the migration to digital entertainment, from production and distribution to the introduction of new formats; it also is deeply engaged in the rapidly expanding 4K marketplace. Mr. Lynton also has emphasized environmental sustainability at Sony Pictures, making it the first and only studio to be certified to the ISO 14001 Environmental Management System; it also has been recognized by the Environmental Media Association and Habitat for Humanity, among others, for its green practices and volunteerism. Prior to joining Sony Pictures, Mr. Lynton worked for Time Warner Entertainment Company and served as CEO of AOL Europe, President of AOL International, and President of Time Warner International. Before working at Time Warner, Mr. Lynton served as Chairman and CEO of Pearson plc's Penguin Group and President of Walt Disney Company's Disney Publishing, which he started, and Disney's Hollywood Pictures.
John W. McCarter, Jr., of Chicago, Illinois, is President Emeritus and former President and Chief Executive Officer of The Field Museum of Natural History, an international leader in environmental conservation, evolutionary biology, paleontology, and anthropology. He previously was Senior Vice President of Booz Allen & Hamilton, Inc. Earlier he served as President of DeKalb Corporation and as Budget Director of the State of Illinois. He was a White House Fellow during the administration of Lyndon B. Johnson. Mr. McCarter is a Director of W.W. Grainger, a member of the Board of the Marine Biological Laboratory, a member of the Board of Governors for Argonne National Laboratory, a Trustee of the National Recreation Foundation, a member of the Board of the Chicago Humanities Festival, and a member of the Governing Council of the Prize to End Blindness by 2020. He is an Emeritus Trustee of the University of Chicago, a former Trustee of Princeton University, and an Emeritus Trustee and former Chairman of Chicago's Public Television Station Channel, WTTW. Mr. McCarter is a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.
David M. Rubenstein of Maryland is Co-Founder and Co-CEO of The Carlyle Group, one of the world's largest private equity firms. He began his career practicing law in New York City, and later served as Chief Counsel to the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee's Subcommittee on Constitutional Amendments and Deputy Assistant to the President for domestic policy in the Carter administration. He also practiced law in Washington, D.C., with Shaw, Pittman, Potts & Trowbridge. He is Chairman of the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts and is a director or trustee to Duke University, Johns Hopkins University, Johns Hopkins Medicine, University of Chicago, Council on Foreign Relations, and the Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts. Mr. Rubenstein also is a member of the Visiting Committee of the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University and the Board of Advisors of Harvard Business School. In addition, he serves on the advisory boards of the National Museum of American History and the National Museum of Natural History.