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Leadership Matters

Georgia Tech President to Head Smithsonian


WASHINGTON (AP) -- -- The troubled Smithsonian Institution says it has chosen Georgia Tech President G. Wayne Clough as its new leader.

The Smithsonian Institution museum. nicknamed the Castle, is on the National Mall in Washington D.C.

Clough will assume control of the world's largest museum and research complex July 1.

Lawrence Small resigned as the Smithsonian's secretary a year ago amid an investigation into his spending.

The Smithsonian Institution also has been criticized for its business practices and how much it pays its executives.

Smithsonian board Chairman Roger Sant said in a statement that Clough will usher in a new era, "bringing a unique combination of academic achievement, talent, leadership skills and experience in public service, science, management and development."

Clough, 66, has served as president of Georgia Tech since 1994 and has degrees in civil engineering. He is credited with transforming the Atlanta school into a top 10 public university, boosting spending on research and raising nearly $1.5 billion.

He previously held high-level posts at the University of Washington and Virginia Tech and taught at Stanford and Duke universities.

"During his remarkable career, Wayne has shown an ability to dramatically advance the institutions and constituencies he has served," said Alan Spoon, a member of the Smithsonian Board of Regents and chairman of the search committee.

There are many interesting aspects of this story. I know people at the Smithsonian, both in the arts and the sciences, who were destroyed by Small's behavior as he tried to make the national treasure more like a business. It is telling that an academic has been chosen to replace Small. Perhaps there is a difference between a university and a business, something that seems to be poorly understood around here lately, at least by administrators.

Tuition is not simply a revenue pool that can be increased at will in order to cover budgetary shortfalls. What OurLeader said at Crookston about tuiton stabilization should be said in the Twin Cities and at the state legislature.

It is also telling that the president of Georgia Tech is credited by the story with having raised the Georgia Tech to be in the top ten public universities. No small feat. This was accomplished in part by recruiting U of M faculty members. I don't recall Georgia Tech trumpeting "ambitious aspirations to be one of the top three research universities in the world [sic]."

Actions speak louder than marketing campaigns.

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