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Smithsonian Board of Regents Elect France Cordova as Chair

The Smithsonian Board of Regents today elected France A. Córdova as its chair, effective January 2012. She will succeed Patty Stonesifer, who has served as chair since January 2009 and will become vice chair. Córdova, an astrophysicist and president of Purdue University in Indiana, has been a member of the board since 2009. The chair serves a three-year term.

Currently, Córdova is chair of the Regents’ Strategic Planning and Programs Committee and a member of the Governance and Nominating Committee. As chair of the Board of Regents, Córdova heads the three-person executive committee that will include Stonesifer, who currently serves as senior advisor to the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and chairs the White House Council for Community Solutions, and Shirley Ann Jackson, board member since 2005 and the chair of the Governance and Nominating Committee. Jackson is president of Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute.

The chair serves as the overall leader of the Board of Regents and its executive committee. Among her duties, Córdova will represent the board in dealings with the Smithsonian Secretary and senior management and will work in partnership with the Secretary to carry out the policies of the Institution. Together with the chair of the Compensation and Human Resources Committee, she will lead the board in its annual evaluation of the Secretary’s performance and compensation. Córdova also will serve as the chief spokesperson for the board and will communicate with Congress and other Smithsonian stakeholders on behalf of the Regents.

Founded in 1846, the Smithsonian is the world’s largest museum and research complex of 19 museums and galleries, the National Zoological Park and nine research facilities. All except two of the museums are located in Washington metropolitan area: Cooper-Hewitt, National Design Museum and the George Gustav Heye Center of the National Museum of the American Indian are located in New York City. There are 6,000 Smithsonian employees, including approximately 500 scientists, and more than 6,500 volunteers. More than 30 million people visited the museums and the National Zoo in 2010.

Image: France Cordova, Photographer: Mark Simons

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