Wayne Clough is the 12th Secretary of the Smithsonian Institution, the world’s largest museum and research complex. The Smithsonian includes 19 museums and galleries, 20 libraries, the National Zoo and nine research centers and has activities in nearly 100 countries.
Since becoming Secretary in July 2008, Clough (pronounced “cluff”) has taken the Smithsonian in new directions. A comprehensive strategic plan—the first of its kind for the Smithsonian—creates a new framework for goals, enterprises and operations. The Smithsonian focus is on four grand challenges—Unlocking the Mysteries of the Universe, Understanding and Sustaining a Biodiverse Planet, Valuing World Cultures and Understanding the American Experience. Complementing the grand challenges is a goal to use digital technology to engage all Americans.
Clough is responsible for an annual budget of $1 billion with about 6,000 employees. As a federal trust, the Smithsonian receives about 65 percent of its funding from the federal government and generates funding from contributions and business activities such as museum shops.
Since Clough became Secretary, more than 350 exhibitions have opened across the Smithsonian. He has overseen the opening of major permanent exhibitions, including the Star-Spangled Banner at the National Museum of American History, the Hall of Human Origins at the National Museum of Natural History, the new wing at the National Air and Space Museum’s Udvar-Hazy Center and Asia Trails at the National Zoo.
Before his appointment to the Smithsonian, Clough was president of the Georgia Institute of Technology for 14 years. He received his bachelor’s and master’s degrees in civil engineering from Georgia Tech in 1964 and 1965 and a doctorate in 1969 in civil engineering from the University of California, Berkeley. Clough was a member of the faculty at Duke University, Stanford University and Virginia Tech. He served as head of the department of civil engineering and dean of the College of Engineering at Virginia Tech and as provost at the University of Washington. He is the recipient of eight honorary doctorates.
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