National Science Board Elects Physician and Former Astronaut to be New Officers

Press Release From: National Science Foundation
Posted: Thursday, May 11, 2006

At its May 10 meeting, the National Science Board (NSB) elected Steven C. Beering to serve as chair and Kathryn D. Sullivan to serve as vice chair. The new officers replace outgoing chair Warren M. Washington and vice chair Diana S. Natalico.

The National Science Board was established by Congress as part of the National Science Foundation (NSF) Act of 1950, and has two important roles. It provides oversight for, and establishes the policies of, NSF. It also serves as an independent body of advisors to both the president and Congress on broad national policies issues related to science and engineering research and education.

The board elects officers, who serve 2-year terms, from its current membership.

NSB members are appointed by the president and confirmed by the Senate. Newly appointed and outgoing members are eligible to serve as consultants to the board and participate in all activities except voting and holding office. Outgoing members can serve as consultants until new members are named by the president.

Newly elected Chair, Steven C. Beering, received B.S. and M.D. degrees and an honorary Doctor of Science degree from the University of Pittsburgh. Before becoming president of Purdue University in 1983, he served for a decade as Dean of Medicine and Director of the Indiana University Medical Center. He holds appointments as professor of medicine at Indiana University and professor of pharmacology at Purdue. He retired from the Purdue presidency in 2000 and continues to serve as a director of the Purdue Research Foundation. He served on active duty with the USAF Medical Corps from May 1957 to June 1969, achieving the rank of lieutenant colonel.

Beering has held numerous national offices, including the chairmanship of the Association of American Medical Colleges and the Association of American Universities. He is a former regent of the National Library of Medicine.

He is also a Fellow of the American College of Physicians and the Royal Society of Medicine, a member of Phi Beta Kappa, the Institute of Medicine of the National Academy of Sciences, and the Indiana Academy.

He serves on a number of national and corporate boards, including NiSource Inc., and Marquis Who's Who. He is a Trustee of the University of Pittsburgh, the Indiana State Museum and the Universities Research Association. Beering was appointed to the National Science Board in 2002 and reappointed in 2004.

Newly elected Vice Chair, Kathryn D. Sullivan, serves as science advisor to the Center of Science and Technology (COSI) a dynamic center of hands-on science learning in Columbus, Ohio. She served as COSI president and chief executive officer from 1996 to 2005, leading the science center into both a new home and the next century. Prior to joining COSI, Sullivan was the chief scientist of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. A former astronaut, Sullivan is a veteran of three space shuttle missions. She joined NASA in 1978 as a member of the first space shuttle astronaut class. On her first spaceflight, in Oct. 1984, she became the first American woman to walk in space. In 1990, she flew on the Hubble Space Telescope deployment mission, and in 1992 was the Payload Commander for the ATLAS-1 Spacelab mission. Education has been a major theme of Sullivan's volunteer activities. She led the design of the original Challenger Center program model.

Sullivan is a captain in the U.S. Navy Reserve. Her professional affiliations include the American Association for the Advancement of Science, and the Wood's Hole Oceanographic Institution. Sullivan has a bachelor of science degree in earth sciences from University of California at Santa Cruz and a Ph.D. in geology from Dalhousie University, Nova Scotia. She has received national honors, awards, and honorary degrees from a number of institutions. She was appointed to the National Science Board in 2004.

In addition to Washington and Natalico, six board members complete their terms as of May 11. They include four members who chair NSB committees, subcommittees or task forces. Four have served two 6-year terms. Collectively, they have served the board for 70 years.

Graduating members are:

  • Warren M. Washington completes his second term as member and second 2-year term as chair. He is a senior scientist and section head at the National Center for Atmospheric Research in Boulder, Colo.
  • Diana S. Natalicio completes her third 2-year term as vice chair and second 6-year term on the board. She is president of the University of Texas, El Paso.
  • Nina V. Fedoroff completes her 6-year term. She is the Evan Pugh Professor and Willaman Professor of Life Sciences at The Pennsylvania State University. She chaired the Task Force on Transformative Research
  • Jane Lubchenco, completes 10 years on the board. She is the Wayne and Gladys Valley Professor of Marine Biology and Distinguished Professor of Zoology at Oregon State University.
  • Michael G. Rossmann completes his 6-year term. He is the Hanley Distinguished Professor of Biological Sciences at Purdue University.
  • Daniel Simberloff completes his 6-year term. He chaired NSB's Committee on Programs and Plans and is the Nancy Gore Hunger Professor of Environmental Science at the University of Tennessee.
  • John A. White, Jr., completes his second 6-year term. He chaired NSB's Subcommittee on Polar Issues and is chancellor of the University of Arkansas in Fayetteville.
  • Mark S. Wrighton completes his 6-year term. He chaired NSB's Committee on Audit and Oversight and is chancellor of Washington University in St. Louis.

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