G. Wayne Clough, Ph.D., P.E.
Secretary Emeritus of the Smithsonian Institution
President Emeritus of the Georgia Institute of Technology
Wayne Clough served as the 10th President of the Georgia Institute of Technology from 1994 to 2008 — the first alumnus to do so — and as the 12th Secretary of the Smithsonian Institution from 2008 to 2014.
During Clough’s tenure as president, Georgia Tech’s national rankings rose into the top 10 among public universities. The student population increased from 13,000 to 19,000, and funding for external research more than doubled. The G. Wayne Clough Georgia Tech Promise Scholarship was created, allowing financially disadvantaged students to graduate without accruing debt. Clough also oversaw the preparations for the 1996 Centennial Olympics and the doubling of the building capacity of the campus. This included the construction of Technology Square, an extension of the campus into a formerly slum ridden area, and the creation of the biotechnology and molecular science complex, which allowed the formation of the Emory-Georgia Tech Biomedical program.
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. His tenure was marked by a number of firsts, including a national fundraising campaign, a national branding initiative, an institution-wide commitment to sustainability, and laying the framework for the Digital Smithsonian. During his tenure, more than $1 billion in philanthropic gifts were raised, creating endowed positions for museum curators, 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.
Clough, a native of Douglas, Georgia, received bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Georgia Tech in civil engineering and a Ph.D. in civil engineering from the University of California, Berkeley. Clough taught at Duke University, Stanford University and Virginia Tech, where he served as Chair of the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering and Dean of the College of Engineering. He also served as Provost and Vice President of the University of Washington.
Clough was elected to the National Academy of Engineering in 1990 and was awarded its Arthur M. Beuche Medal in 2008 for national service in public policy. He received nine awards from the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE), including two Norman Medals and the OPAL Award for lifetime achievement. He was elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 2010. In 2014, he received the President’s Medal from Emory University and the Silver Order of the de Fleury Medal of the Army Corps of Engineers. In 2016 he was elected to the National Academy of Construction. In 2020 he was awarded the Lifetime Achievement Award for Contributions to Higher Education from the University System of Georgia, and the Life Time Achievement Award from the Georgia Society of Professional Engineers. Clough has received 12 Honorary Doctorates from universities and colleges.
His most recent publications include three books, 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, 2016, and Things New and Strange: A Southerners Journey of Discovery Through the Smithsonian Collections, May 2019, published by the University of Georgia Press. The last book won the 2020 Best Author Award for history from the Georgia Writers Association.
Clough remains active as a proponent of access to higher education for financially disadvantaged students, teaching leadership skills to engineering students, and addressing issues related to climate change.
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