WASHINGTON (Sept. 21, 2009)—Obstetrician Alexandra Grosvenor Eller, great-great-great-granddaughter of Gardiner Greene Hubbard, a founder and first president of the National Geographic Society, has been appointed to the Society’s board of trustees. She is also the great-great-granddaughter of Alexander Graham Bell, the Society’s second president, and the daughter of Gilbert M. Grosvenor, a former Society president and current chairman of its board of trustees. Joining her as a new board member is Ted Waitt, co-founder and former chairman of Gateway Inc. and chairman of The Waitt Family Foundation. They join 16 other trustees who are leaders in science, education, law, business, finance, government and public service.
The 121-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 more than 375 million people each month through its six magazines, National Geographic Channel, television documentaries, radio, music, films, books, DVDs, maps, school publishing programs, interactive media, exhibitions, live events and expeditions. It has funded more than 9,000 scientific research projects and supports an education program promoting geographic literacy.
Grosvenor Eller is a physician in maternal fetal medicine at Intermountain Healthcare in Salt Lake City and an assistant professor in obstetrics and gynecology at the University of Utah, where she completed her subspecialty training in high-risk pregnancy and a master’s degree in public health. She received her medical degree from Wake Forest University School of Medicine and completed her residency training in obstetrics and gynecology at Oregon Health and Science University. She received a B.A. in molecular biology from Princeton University.
Grosvenor Eller has an interest in promoting maternal and child health across the globe and has spent time working with pregnant women in Kenya, a place she hopes to return to regularly.
“The National Geographic Society has always been an integral part of my life and has shaped my vision of the world as an interconnected community. I am honored and thrilled by the opportunity to carry on my family’s tradition of service to the Society and its mission,” Grosvenor Eller said.
Waitt led Gateway Inc. from a two-person startup in Waitt’s family’s Iowa farmhouse in 1985 to its becoming a leading global brand and a Fortune 500 company, until his retirement as CEO in 1999. He stepped down as Gateway’s chairman in 2005 to focus on varied business and philanthropic interests. These include Avalon Capital Group, The Waitt Family Foundation, the Waitt Institute for Discovery and the Waitt Institute for Violence Prevention. Waitt has partnered with National Geographic and IBM on the Genographic Project, which charts the migratory history of the human species. Waitt has been a member of National Geographic’s Council of Advisors since July 2004 and has since partnered with the Society on authenticating, translating and publishing the Gospel of Judas and on launching the National Geographic Society-Waitt grants for scientific research.
“National Geographic is a tremendous organization that I’ve developed a very close relationship with over the last few years,” said Waitt. “Together we’ve done some great things for the planet. I’m proud to now be an even closer part of the National Geographic team and look forward to doing even greater things in the future.”
John Fahey, National Geographic Society president and CEO, said, “Lexi Grosvenor Eller’s family has played a major role in the National Geographic Society since its founding in 1888. In addition to the positions held by Gardiner Greene Hubbard and Alexander Graham Bell, Lexi’s father, grandfather and great-grandfather all served as editors of National Geographic magazine. The family’s contribution to and impact on the organization is immeasurable, and we are delighted that Lexi will be continuing that rich legacy.
“Ted and The Waitt Family Foundation have been involved in a number of important National Geographic projects, including Genographic, the NGS-Waitt grant program and, most recently, significant research into the health of marine ecosystems. We have also worked with Ted to distribute the documentary film ‘End of the Line,’ which exposes the overfishing crisis. Ted’s generosity and commitment to our work have allowed the Society to support vital scientific research and educational outreach and has furthered our mission of inspiring people to care about the planet,” Fahey added. “The National Geographic board of trustees is fortunate to have the additional counsel and experience of Ted and Lexi, who have impressive records of leadership and service.”
Note to Editors: Photographs of Alexandra Grosvenor Eller and Ted Waitt are available at the FTP site: http://ftp.nationalgeographic.com/pressroom/trustees/
Mary Jeanne Jacobsen