Cardiologist named Smithsonian Institution secretary

Cardiologist David J. Skorton, MD, president of Cornell University, has been elected the 13th secretary of the Smithsonian Institution by the organization’s 17-member Board of Regents.

Skorton, a specialist in congenital heart disease, cardiac imaging and image processing, will be the first medical doctor to serve as secretary, according to a press release. He will assume the role in July 2015, succeeding current secretary G. Wayne Clough, who will retire at the end of this year. An acting secretary, yet to be named, will fill the role between the departure of Clough and the beginning of Skorton’s tenure.

In addition to serving as Cornell University president since 2006, Skorton is also a professor in the medicine and pediatrics departments of Weill Cornell Medical College and the biomedical engineering department at the College of Engineering. Prior to joining Cornell, he served as president of the University of Iowa from 2003 to 2006, where he co-founded the Adolescent and Adult Congenital Heart Disease Clinic. Skorton also helped establish the International Society for Adult Congenital Heart Disease, and holds positions at the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and the Institute of Medicine of the National Academies, according to the release.

“David Skorton has demonstrated keen vision and skilled leadership as the president of two great American universities,” said John G. Roberts, Jr., Smithsonian Chancellor and Chief Justice of the United States. “His character, experience and talents are an ideal match for the Smithsonian’s broad and dynamic range of interests, endeavors and aspirations. I look forward to working with David to increase the impact of an incomparable American institution across the spectrum of arts, sciences, education, and culture.”