WASHINGTON (May 8, 2012)—Dr. Susan Hockfield, president of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, has been appointed to the National Geographic Society board of trustees. The noted neuroscientist joins 21 other trustees who are leaders in science, education, law, business, finance, government and public service.
The 124-year-old Society, whose mission is to inspire people to care about the planet, is one of the world’s largest nonprofit scientific and educational organizations. It reaches nearly 500 million people each month through its magazines, National Geographic Channel, books, films, DVDs, maps, radio, music, live events, interactive media and expeditions. It has funded more than 10,000 scientific research projects and supports an education program promoting geographic literacy.
“National Geographic is fortunate to have the additional counsel and experience of Susan Hockfield, who has an impressive record of leadership and service in the fields of science, technology and education,” said Society Chairman and CEO John Fahey.
Hockfield has served as the 16th president of MIT since 2004 and is a strong advocate of the role that science and technology can play in the world. The first life scientist to lead MIT, she holds a faculty appointment as professor of neuroscience in the Institute’s Department of Brain and Cognitive Sciences.
Before assuming the presidency of MIT, Hockfield was the William Edward Gilbert Professor of Neurobiology and provost at Yale University. She joined the Yale faculty in 1985 and was named full professor in 1994. While at Yale, she played a central role in the university’s leadership, first as dean of its Graduate School of Arts and Sciences (1998-2002), with oversight of over 70 graduate programs, and then as provost, the university’s chief academic and administrative officer.
Hockfield’s research has focused on the development of the brain and on glioma, a deadly kind of brain cancer. Her presidency at MIT has been marked by her leadership of ambitious endeavors in service to the nation and the world, such as the MIT Energy Initiative, a major Institute-wide initiative in energy research and education that Hockfield established early in her presidency.
Hockfield earned her B.A. in biology from the University of Rochester and a Ph.D. from the Georgetown University School of Medicine, while carrying out her dissertation research in neuroscience at the National Institutes of Health (NIH). She was an NIH postdoctoral fellow at the University of California at San Francisco in 1979-80, and then joined the scientific staff at the Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory in New York in 1980. She served as director of the Laboratory’s Summer Neurobiology Program from 1985 to 1997, concurrent with her teaching post at Yale, and more recently as a trustee of the laboratory.
She holds honorary degrees from Brown University, Mount Sinai School of Medicine, Tsinghua University (Beijing), University of Edinburgh, the University of Pierre and Marie Curie (Paris) and the Watson School of Biological Sciences at the Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory; she holds a jointly awarded honorary degree from New University of Lisbon, the Technical University of Lisbon and the University of Porto. She is an elected member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. Other honors include the Wilbur Lucius Cross Medal from the Yale University Graduate School, the Meliora Citation for Career Achievement from the University of Rochester, and the Charles Judson Herrick Award from the American Association of Anatomists for outstanding contributions by a young scientist.
Hockfield is a director of the General Electric Company and a board member of the World Economic Forum Foundation, a trustee of the Carnegie Corporation of New York and the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, a member of the Board of Overseers of the Boston Symphony Orchestra and a trustee of the WGBH Education Foundation. She has served on the National Advisory Neurological Disorders and Stroke Council of the NIH, as well as a number of other advisory boards. Her memberships in professional societies include the American Association for the Advancement of Science and the Society for Neuroscience. In 2011, Hockfield was asked by President Obama to co-chair the Advanced Manufacturing Partnership, a national effort to bring together industry, universities and the federal government in an effort to revitalize American manufacturing.
Hockfield lives in Cambridge, Mass.
Note to Editors: An image of new National Geographic trustee Dr. Susan Hockfield can be found at the FTP site: http://press.nationalgeographic.com/downloads/temp2/file/trustees.