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., Chancellor
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.
Kamala D. Harris
Kamala D. Harris is the Vice President of the United States of America. She was elected Vice President after a lifetime of public service, having been elected District Attorney of San Francisco, California Attorney General, and United States Senator.
Vice President Harris was born in Oakland, California to parents who emigrated from India and Jamaica. She graduated from Howard University and the University of California, Hastings College of Law.
Vice President Harris and her sister, Maya Harris, were inspired by their mother, Shyamala Gopalan. Gopalan, a breast cancer scientist and pioneer in her own right, received her doctorate the same year Vice President Harris was born.
Her parents were activists, instilling Vice President Harris with a strong sense of justice. They brought her to civil rights demonstrations and introduced role models—ranging from Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marshall to civil rights leader Constance Baker Motley—whose work motivated her to become a prosecutor.
Growing up, Vice President Harris was surrounded by a diverse community and extended family. In 2014, she married Douglas Emhoff. They have a large blended family that includes their children, Ella and Cole.
Throughout her career, the Vice President has been guided by the words she spoke the first time she stood up in court: Kamala Harris, for the people.
In 1990, Vice President Harris joined the Alameda County District Attorney’s Office where she specialized in prosecuting child sexual assault cases. She then served as a managing attorney in the San Francisco District Attorney’s Office and later was chief of the Division on Children and Families for the San Francisco City Attorney’s Office.
She was elected District Attorney of San Francisco in 2003. In that role, Vice President Harris created a ground-breaking program to provide first-time drug offenders with the opportunity to earn a high school degree and find employment. The program was designated as a national model of innovation for law enforcement by the United States Department of Justice.
In 2010, Vice President Harris was elected California’s Attorney General and oversaw the largest state justice department in the United States. She established the state’s first Bureau of Children’s Justice and instituted several first-of-theirkind reforms that ensured greater transparency and accountability in the criminal justice system.
As Attorney General, Vice President Harris won a $20 billion settlement for Californians whose homes had been foreclosed on, as well as a $1.1 billion settlement for students and veterans who were taken advantage of by a for-profit education company. She defended the Affordable Care Act in court, enforced environmental law, and was a national leader in the movement for marriage equality.
In 2017, Vice President Harris was sworn into the United States Senate. In her first speech, she spoke out on behalf of immigrants and refugees. As a member of the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, she fought for better protections for DREAMers and called for better oversight of substandard conditions at immigrant detention facilities.
On the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, she worked with members of both parties to keep the American people safe from foreign threats and crafted bipartisan legislation to assist in securing American elections. She visited Iraq, Jordan, and Afghanistan to meet with servicemembers and assess the situation on the ground. She also served on the Senate Judiciary Committee. During her tenure on the committee, she participated in hearings for two Supreme Court nominees.
As Senator, Vice President Harris championed legislation to combat hunger, provide rent relief, improve maternal health care, and address the climate crisis as a member of the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works. Her bipartisan anti-lynching bill passed the Senate in 2018. Her legislation to preserve Historically Black Colleges and Universities was signed into law, as was her effort to infuse much-needed capital into low-income communities during the COVID-19 pandemic.
On August 11, 2020, Vice President Harris accepted President Joe Biden’s invitation to become his running mate and help unite the nation. She is the first woman, the first Black American, and the first South Asian American to be elected Vice President, as was the case with other offices she has held. She is, however, determined not to be the last.
As Vice President, Kamala Harris has worked in partnership with President Joe Biden to get America vaccinated, rebuild our economy, reduce child poverty, and pass an infrastructure law that will lift up communities that have been left behind. She has led the Administration’s efforts in rallying broad coalitions to protect the freedom to vote, expand workers’ rights to organize and collectively bargain, and stand up for women’s rights — supporting women in our workforce, addressing the maternal health crisis, and defending reproductive rights. The Vice President has also played a key role in engaging world leaders and strengthening our nation’s alliances and partnerships. In everything she does, she remains focused on the people of our nation—and our collective future.
Committees: Compensation and Human Resources; Governance and Nominating
John Boozman is Arkansas’s senior U.S. Senator and the dean of the state’s Congressional delegation. Raised in Fort Smith, John graduated from Northside High School and went on to play football for the University of Arkansas Razorbacks while completing his pre-optometry requirements. He graduated from the Southern College of Optometry in 1977 and entered private practice that same year co-founding a family business with his brother that would ultimately become a major provider of eye care to Northwest Arkansas. Decades of experience as a successful healthcare provider and a small business owner guide John’s approach to governing. He is committed to advocating for economic policies that help Arkansas’s small businesses continue to grow and add jobs to our state’s economy. And since agriculture accounts for nearly one-quarter of Arkansas’s economic activity, John has been a consistent champion for the state’s farmers, ranchers and loggers and was instrumental in the fight for an equitable farm bill. As the son of an Air Force Master Sergeant, John learned at an early age about the sacrifices of our men and women in uniform, as well as the unique challenges military families face. He brings these values with him to Washington where he is committed to enhancing the quality of life for both our veterans and their families. John has authored provisions to extend successful federal homeless veteran programs, expand treatments for our wounded warriors and modernize educational benefits under the GI Bill. John serves on four committees and chairs two subcommittees in the 116th Congress. Along with these committees, John serves on the Commission on Security and Cooperation in Europe, commonly referred to as the Helsinki Commission. He serves on the Congressional Study Group on Europe (CSGE), a bipartisan organization dedicated to frank and candid dialogue between American lawmakers and their peers in European capitals and Brussels and has been appointed the Vice Chairman of the Senate Delegation to the British-American Interparliamentary Group during the 116thCongress. In addition, John also serves as one of six Congressional Regents on the Smithsonian Institution's Board of Regents which governs and administers the organization. First elected to the Senate in 2010, John was sworn in for a second term on January 3, 2017. Prior to serving in the Senate, he represented the people of the Third District of Arkansas in the U.S. House of Representatives. Active in his community, John has served on the Rogers School Board, the Benton County Fair Board, established the low vision program at the Arkansas School for the Blind in Little Rock and worked as a volunteer optometrist at an area clinic that provides medical services to low-income families. He successfully raised Polled Hereford cattle that were competitive in the show ring, as well as in bull testing at Oklahoma State University. John is married to the former Cathy Marley and they currently reside in Rogers, AR. The couple has three daughters and three grandchildren.
Catherine Cortez Masto
Committees: Audit and Review; Finance
Catherine Cortez Masto is the first woman from Nevada and the first Latina ever elected to the U.S. Senate. Born and raised in Las Vegas, Cortez Masto has spent her career protecting Nevada families. From 2007 to 2015, Cortez Masto served two terms as Nevada's Attorney General, where she fought to protect seniors, strengthen laws to end sex trafficking and violence against women, combat drug crime, and take on the Big Banks. In the Senate, Cortez Masto has taken her fight for working Nevadans to Washington, D.C., by fighting to protect Nevadans’ access to health care; hold banks accountable when they harm hardworking families and homeowners; defend Dreamers so they can continue to live in the only country they’ve ever called home; and grow Nevada’s innovation and renewable energy economy, while also prioritizing workers and union families. She is a member of four U.S. Senate Committees: the Committee on Finance; the Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs; the Committee on Energy and Natural Resources; and the Committee on Indian Affairs. Cortez Masto currently serves as the Ranking Member of the Public Lands, Forests, and Mining Subcommittee of the Energy and Natural Resources Committee. Cortez Masto earned a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration in Finance from the University of Nevada, Reno in 1986, and a J.D. from Gonzaga University School of Law in 1990. She resides in Las Vegas with her husband Paul.
Committees: Compensation and Human Resources; Facilities
Gary Peters has represented the state of Michigan in the U.S. Senate since 2015. Born and raised in Pontiac, Michigan, he began his career in the private sector as an assistant vice president at Merrill Lynch and vice president of UBS/PaineWebber. He began his public service as a Rochester Hills City Councilman in 1991. After being elected to the Michigan State Senate three years later, Peters served two terms, and passed more bills signed into law than any other member of his party. He volunteered for the U.S. Navy Reserve at age 34, where he earned a Seabee Combat Warfare Specialist designation and rose to the rank of Lieutenant Commander. After the September 11th attacks, Peters volunteered again for drilling status and served overseas as part of his Reserve duty. As a member of the House of Representatives and now in the Senate, Peters has focused on finding commonsense, bipartisan solutions to the problems that face Michiganders. He has passed into law legislation to protect the Great Lakes, expand apprenticeships and domestic manufacturing, and strengthen our national security including cybersecurity. Peters has been recognized as one of the most effective and bipartisan senators in the U.S. Senate. He serves on four committees: Armed Services; Commerce, Science, and Transportation; Appropriations; and chair of Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs. He received a B.A. in Political Science from Alma College, an M.B.A. in Finance from the University of Detroit Mercy, an M.A. in political science from Wayne State University, an M.A. in Philosophy from Michigan State University, and a law degree (J.D.) from Wayne State University Law School. He has three children, and currently resides in Oakland County with his wife, Colleen.
Committees: Audit and Review; Compensation and Human Resources
Congressman Garret Graves is proud to represent nearly 800,000 people across south Louisiana. The district includes the Baton Rogue capitol region, both sides of the mighty Mississippi through the river region down to New Orleans airport, then southwest through the bayou communities of Thibodaux, Houma and ending across the Atchafalaya Basin in the Morgan City area. Graves brings experience in infrastructure, resilience, disaster response, conservation, environmental and energy issues to the U.S. House of Representatives – and has intimate knowledge of the unique terrain of South Louisiana, where he was born and raised. Graves chairs the Aviation Subcommittee on Transportation and serves on the Natural Resources Committee. During his tenure, he has been recognized for his work breaking decades-old logjams, finding new solutions to old problems, and using new technology to improve the efficiency and customer service of the federal government. Garret has been ranked one of the most effective U.S. House members and has had several bipartisan bills signed into law by three different presidents. With his no-nonsense style, Garret has a proven record of delivering positive results for Louisiana and the nation. He is a native of Baton Rouge, Louisiana, where he resides with his wife Carissa and their three children.
Committees: Finance; Governance and Nominating
Congresswoman Doris Matsui has represented the city of Sacramento and its surrounding areas since 2005. As a senior member of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, she serves on the Health, Communications & Technology, Environment, and Digital Commerce & Consumer Protection subcommittees. The Congresswoman serves as Co-Chair of the Sustainable Energy & Environment Coalition, Co-Chair of the High Tech Caucus, and Co-Chair of the National Service Caucus. Before coming to Congress, Congresswoman Matsui served on numerous advisory boards, community organizations, and honorary committees. She served as Chairwoman of the Board for the KVIE public television station in Sacramento, and in leadership capacities for the Crocker Art Museum, Sacramento Children's Home, and the Sacramento Symphony Orchestra. In D.C., she served on the Woodrow Wilson Center Board of Trustees, and in leadership capacities for the Meridian International Center and Arena Stage. She currently serves as an Advisory Board Member of the National Museum of American History and is on the Board of the National Symphony Orchestra. During President Bill Clinton's first term in office, she served as one of eight members of the President's transition board. She later served as Deputy Assistant to the President in the White House Office of Public Liaison.
Committees: Facilities; Governance and Nominating
Congressman Adrian Smith is a Gering native and sixth generation Nebraskan who serves as the lead Republican of the House Ways and Means Committee’s Trade Subcommittee. Smith works across the committee’s jurisdiction to foster new opportunities for American producers and consumers, advocate for U.S. leadership on the world stage, and ensure American innovation is protected and prioritized. Prior to joining the House Ways and Means Committee, Smith was a member of the House Science, Space and Technology Committee where he worked on issues related to scientific research and development across many sectors of the economy. He has also served on the House Administration Committee, the House Budget Committee, the House Agriculture Committee, and the House Natural Resources Committee. He and his wife, Andrea, reside in Gering with their two young children.
Barbara M. Barrett
Appointed 2013 - 2019, 2021
Committees: Executive; Advancement; Audit and Review; Compensation and Human Resources
Barrett was the 25th Secretary of the Air Force. In addition to the Smithsonian, she advises presidents and prime ministers of democracies around the world as a board member of the Global Leadership Foundation. She is vice chairman of Caltech and vice president of the Horatio Alger Association. Before the Air Force, she was four-term Chairman of the Board of The Aerospace Corporation. Earlier, Barrett was interim president of Thunderbird School of Global Management, Ambassador to Finland, CEO of the American Management Association, Deputy Administrator of the Federal Aviation Administration, Vice Chairman of the Civil Aeronautics Board, and an executive with two Fortune 200 companies. She served on the governing boards of RAND, Mayo Clinic, Raytheon, Exponent Corporation, and the Space Foundation, among others. She taught leadership as a Fellow at Harvard. She and her husband own Triple Creek Guest Ranch in Montana. An instrument-rated pilot, Barrett trained and qualified for space flight to the International Space Station.
John Fahey served as President and CEO of National Geographic from 1998 to 2013 and as Chairman from 2010 to 2015. 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. 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 serves on the boards of Johnson Outdoors as Vice Chair and Lead Independent Director, and Linbald Expeditions. He served as Lead Director and Chairman of Time Inc when it was spun off from Time Warner. 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.
Roger W. Ferguson, Jr.
Committees: Audit and Review; Finance; Governance and Nominating (Chair); Investment (Vice Chair)
Roger W. Ferguson, Jr., is the Immediate Past President and CEO of TIAA. Prior to joining TIAA, Mr. Ferguson was head of financial services for Swiss Re and Chairman of Swiss Re America Holding Corporation. Mr. Ferguson is the former Vice Chairman of the Board of Governors of the U.S. Federal Reserve System. He began his career as an attorney at the New York City office of Davis Polk & Wardwell and was an Associate and Partner at McKinsey & Company. Mr. Ferguson is a member of the Smithsonian Institution’s Board of Regents. He is a fellow of the American Academy of Arts & Sciences. He serves on the boards of Alphabet, Inc.; Corning, Inc.; General Mills, Inc.; and International Flavors & Fragrances, Inc. Mr. Ferguson is also active as an advisor and board member with various private fintech companies. He serves on the boards of The Conference Board, the American Council of Life Insurers, the Institute for Advanced Study, and Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center. Mr. Ferguson holds a B.A., J.D., and a Ph.D. in economics, all from Harvard University.
Committees: Compensation and Human Resources (Chair); Facilities; Strategy, Innovation, and Technology
Michael Govan joined the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA) as Chief Executive Officer and Wallis Annenberg Director in 2006. In this role, he oversees all activities of the museum, from art programming to the expansion and upgrade of the museum’s twenty-acre campus. During his tenure, LACMA has acquired by donation or purchase more than 27,000 works for the permanent collection, gallery space and programs have almost doubled, and annual attendance has grown from 600,000 to nearly 1.6 million in 2016. Currently the museum in the process of building a new, state of the art gallery building designed by architect Peter Zumthor.
Risa J. Lavizzo-Mourey, M.D., Chair
Committees: Executive (Chair); Compensation and Human Resources; Facilities; Strategy, Innovation, and Technology
Dr Lavizzo-Mourey is a geriatrician and health policy expert who has devoted her career to improving health, health care and health equity in the United States as a medical practitioner, professor, and non-profit executive. As the long serving President and CEO of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, Dr Lavizzo-Mourey worked extensively with national and local organizations to define and commit to building a culture of health throughout the country.
At the University of Pennsylvania, she held a university wide professorship with appointments in the Pearlman School of Medicine, the Wharton School of Business, and the Nursing School. Dr Lavizzo-Mourey’s accomplishments have been recognized with numerous honorary degrees, election to The American Philosophical Society and The National Academy of Medicine including conferring its highest honor, the Gustav O. Lienhard Award. In addition to the Smithsonian Board of Regents, Lavizzo-Mourey serves on the TIAA’s Board of Governors, the Howard Hughes Medical Institute Board of Trustees, and on the Board of Directors of several public companies. She and her husband, Bob, live in Philadelphia where they enjoy engaging local arts institutions and having fun with their grandchildren.
Michael M. Lynton
Committees: Advancement; Governance and Nominating; Strategy, Innovation, and Technology (Chair)
Michael Lynton is the Chairman of the Board of Snap Inc. and the Former CEO of Sony Entertainment. Michael Lynton served as the CEO of Sony Entertainment from April 2012 until February 2017, overseeing Sony’s global entertainment businesses, including Sony Music Entertainment, Sony/ATV Music Publishing and Sony Pictures Entertainment. Michael also served as Chairman and CEO of Sony Pictures Entertainment since January 2004. Prior to joining Sony Pictures, he worked for Time Warner and served as CEO of AOL Europe, President of AOL International and President of Time Warner International, and earlier served as Chairman and CEO of Pearson plc's Penguin Group where he oversaw the acquisition of Putnam, Inc. and extended the Penguin brand to music and the Internet. Michael currently serves on the Board of Snap, Inc., IEX, and Ares Management, L.P. He is also a member on the Council on Foreign Relations and the Harvard Board of Overseers and serves on the boards of the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, the Tate, and the Rand Corporation. Michael holds a B.A. in History and Literature from Harvard College, where he also received his M.B.A.
Denise M. O'Leary
Committees: Advancement; Audit and Review (Chair); Governance and Nominating
Ms. O’Leary is a private venture capital investor and a corporate director. She is currently a member of the Board of Directors of American Airlines Group, Inc. and Medtronic plc. She has previously served on the boards of US Airways, Inc. until that company’s merger with American Airlines at the end of 2013, ALZA Corporation, America West Airlines Group, Inc., Calpine Corporation, Chiron Corporation, Del Monte Foods Company and numerous private companies. Additionally, Ms. O’Leary is Chair of the Board of Trustees of the University of Denver and serves on the Advisory Council of the Colorado Impact Fund. She has been a member of the Board of Directors of Stanford Hospital and Clinics, where she served as Chair of the Board, and the Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital at Stanford. She was a member of the Stanford University Board of Trustees for 15 years, during which time she was Vice Chair of the Board and Chair of the Committee on the Medical Center. She has also served on the Board of Directors of the Bonfils-Stanton Foundation, Connect for Health Colorado (the state health exchange), the Smithsonian National Board, and the Corporation for Supportive Housing, where she served as Chair of the Board. A graduate of Stanford University (BS, Industrial Engineering, 1979) and Harvard Graduate School of Business Administration (MBA, 1983), Ms. O’Leary was a General Partner at Menlo Ventures in Menlo Park, CA for 15 years.
Franklin D. Raines
Committees: Advancement; Finance (Chair); Investment; Strategy, Innovation, and Technology
Frank Raines is Executive Chairman and Co-founder of the digital services companies XAPPmedia and Bespoken.io. The first African American CEO of a Fortune 500 corporation, Frank retired as Chairman and CEO of Fannie Mae in 2004. He previously served as the Director of the Office of Management and Budget in the Clinton Administration where he led the negotiations that resulted in the Balanced Budget Act of 1997. Frank began his professional career working for Senator Moynihan in the White House. He later became the assistant director of the White House Domestic Policy Staff in the Carter administration and followed that role becoming associate director of the U.S. Office of Management and Budget from 1978-1979. Frank later joined investment bank Lazard Freres & Co where he served as partner from 1985 -1991. Frank has served on the board of Directors of six Fortune 100 companies, and also served as Co-Chairman of the Business Roundtable and Vice Chairman of the Business Council. Frank has been an investor and board member of several start-up companies and was a member of the Board of the National Urban League and the fundraising cabinet of the Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial. He was a founding member of the Advisory Council of the National Museum of African American History and Culture. Originally from Seattle, Washington, he earned his B.A. (magna cum laude) from Harvard College in 1971. He attended Magdalen College, Oxford University in England as a Rhodes Scholar and graduated from the Harvard Law School, cum laude, in 1976. He is also the recipient of the Harvard Medal and the Distinguished Service Medal by the Department of Defense. He has been elected as a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and the Academy of Social Insurance, and as a member of the Council on Foreign Relations.