Smithsonian’s Clough, Rutgers’ Greenberg to Speak at College Convocations

by Rashad Mulla

Smithsonian’s Clough, Rutgers’ Greenberg to Speak at College Convocations
Greenberg, left, and Clough, right.

Two bright minds in the fields of humanities and social sciences will help this year’s crop of George Mason University graduates pen the closing chapter of their academic careers.

Wayne Clough, Secretary of the Smithsonian Institution, will speak at the College of Humanities and Social Sciences graduate convocation on Thursday, May 17. Douglas Greenberg, Professor of History and Executive Dean of the School of Arts and Sciences at Rutgers University, will speak at the college’s undergraduate convocation on Friday, May 18.

Clough, the 12th Secretary in the history of the Smithsonian Institution, is responsible for the organization’s 19 museums and galleries, 20 libraries, nine research centers and the National Zoo in Washington, D.C. Before arriving at the Smithsonian, Clough was president of Georgia Tech for 14 years. In his decorated career, he has been on the faculty at Duke University, Stanford University and Virginia Polytechnic Institute. He has been the recipient of a bevy of awards for his work, including the 2011 Foreign Policy Association Medal, the National Academy of Engineering’s Bueche Award and nine awards from the American Society of Civil Engineers.

His civil engineering expertise is in geotechnical and earthquake engineering, and his interests span a range of fields. His most recent publication is titled, “Increasing Scientific Literacy: A Shared Responsibility.”

Clough, who has a professional connection with Mason, is looking forward to convocation.

"I greatly look forward to the convocation because I have always found discussion with students, faculty and parents to be inspiring, particularly around graduation," he said. "George Mason University and the Smithsonian for years have been collaborating on many initiatives, for example, our joint degree programs which focus on conservation biology and the history of decorative arts. I know our productive partnership with the talented faculty and staff at Mason will flourish in the future."

Greenberg, a New Jersey native, is the head of the largest academic unit at Rutgers. The School of Arts and Sciences enrolls 22,000 undergraduate students and 2,000 graduates, employs 750 tenured and tenure-track faculty and features 40 departments. Throughout his career, he has taught at multiple universities, including the University of Southern California, Princeton University and Lawrence University. He was the president and CEO of the Chicago Historical Society, vice president of the American Council of Learned Societies and associate dean of the faculty at Princeton.

At Rutgers, he is responsible for multiple projects to improve research funding, grants to support graduate education and a host of other initiatives. An expert historian on early America, he has also written about technology, scholarship and libraries, and is currently researching comparative genocide and Jewish identity in the post-Holocaust United States.

Greenberg, who has visited Mason on a number of occasions, looks forward to returning and speaking to the graduating students.

"For many years, George Mason University has had a really interesting and important place in American higher education," Greenberg said. "So the opportunity to talk to a group of very extraordinary students and their families is one that I really relish. I want to talk about the role of public higher education in American life, and the contribution that institutions like George Mason University make not only in the lives of their students but in the larger society."

The college’s graduate convocation takes place on Thursday, May 17 at 7 p.m. in the Patriot Center. Family and friends are invited to attend, and tickets are not required. The Patriot Center will open at 6 p.m. for general seating.

The undergraduate convocation takes place on Friday, May 18 at 10 a.m., also in the Patriot Center. Once again, no tickets are required for seating. The Patriot Center opens at 9:00 a.m. for general seating.

These two days are sure to add a bold exclamation point to the last sentence of the graduates’ academic narrative.