Wayne Clough served as the 10th president of the Georgia Institute of Technology from 1994 to 2008 and as the 12th Secretary of the Smithsonian from 2008 to 2014. He earned his BS and MS degrees from Georgia Tech, Ph.D. from the University of California at Berkeley, and he has received honorary doctorates from twelve universities. He taught at Duke, Stanford, and Virginia Tech (advancing to school chair and college dean), and was Provost at the University of Washington. Clough was elected to the National Academy of Engineering in 1990 and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 2010.
During his tenure at Georgia Tech the Institute rose into the top ten among public universities, hosted the 1996 Olympics, extended the campus into Midtown Atlanta, expanded overseas, and improved student retention and graduation rates. The Institute embarked upon two successful national fundraising campaigns, resulting in increases in endowed faculty positions, support for student leadership programs, and new cross-disciplinary research initiatives. Clough oversaw more than a billion dollars in campus construction and improvements. During this period he was appointed to the National Science Board (2004-2011) and the President’s Advisory Committee for Science and Technology (2001-2008).
As secretary of the Smithsonian, Clough led the development of a new form of strategic plan that brought focus to the diverse activities of the world’s largest research and museum complex and established a path forward for the 21st century. During his tenure, more than $1 billion in philanthropic gifts were raised, creating new endowed positions for museum and research center directors, scholarships and fellowships, and providing funding for new buildings and exhibitions. As secretary, he also presided over more than a billion dollars in renovations and new construction His tenure at the Smithsonian was marked by a significant growth in museum visitation, a commitment to digital outreach and education, a focus on sustainability and interdisciplinary activities, and enhanced private support.
Clough was awarded the National Academy of Engineering’s Arthur M. Beuche Medal in 2008 for national service in public policy. He has received nine awards from the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE), including two Norman Medals, and the OPAL Award for lifetime achievement. He received Georgia Tech’s Joseph M. Petit Award for Distinguished Service in 2009 and was named to the Technology Hall of Fame of Georgia in the same year. He received the Medal of the Foreign Policy Association in 2011 and was awarded the Ralph Coates Roe Medal of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers in 2013. In 2014, he received the President’s Medal of Emory University and the Silver Order of the de Fleury Medal of the Army Corps of Engineers for his service in the rebuilding of the hurricane protection system in New Orleans.
Clough is active in his retirement as a lecturer and a thought leader regarding engineering and climate change. Clough resides in his native state of Georgia where he teaches part-time at Georgia Tech with a focus on leadership, climate change solutions, and where he continues his work to improve higher education access for low income students.
His most recent publications are Increasing Scientific Literacy: A Shared Responsibility in 2010 and The Best of Both Worlds: The Digital Future of Museums, Libraries and Archives in 2013. Seeing the Universe from Here: Field Notes from the Smithsonian, is currently in press, and a second book Like Ripples Across a Net: A Southerner’s Journey of Discovery Through the Smithsonian Collections is now underway.