December 5, 2013

On November 21, 2013, Smithsonian Institution Secretary, Wayne Clough, Ph.D., P.E., Hon.D.GE, NAE, Dist.M.ASCE, hosted the Presidential Medal of Freedom Award Dinner.  The award, started by President John F. Kennedy, was established in 1963 as a way to honor civilians for “a meritorious act or service which has aided the United States in the prosecution of a war against an enemy or enemies and for which an award of another United States medal or decoration is considered inappropriate”.  President Barack Obama stated, "To the Presidential Medal of Freedom recipients of this year and years past, it is a great honor to be with you for this anniversary celebration.  To Wayne Clough, thank you for hosting us and for all the Smithsonian does to enrich our cultural heritage."

Clough was named 12th Secretary of the Smithsonian Institution on March 15, 2008 at a press conference held at the Smithsonian Castle. Clough assumed office July 1, 2008. Since beginning his new post, Clough has already made plans to digitize the Museum's collections, and offer more intensive K-12 educational programming.  Clough's first academic position was as an assistant professor at Duke University. He then became a full professor at Stanford University. In 1982, he went to Virginia Tech as a professor of civil engineering and coordinator of the geotechnical programs. In 1990, Clough became dean of the Virginia Tech College of Engineering. In 1993, he moved to provost and vice president for academic affairs at the University of Washington.

To read more from the 50th Presidential Medal of Freedom event, please click here.