Smithsonian Names Search Committee for National Zoo Director
The Under Secretary for Science at the Smithsonian, David Evans, announced the formation of a nine-member committee to assist in the nationwide search for a director of the National Zoological Park. The new director will succeed Lucy Spelman, the current director, who will step down at the end of the year.
The first meeting of the committee, chaired by Evans, was held June 7, 2004. "We have put together a solid group of individuals, including experts from other zoos and a veterinary school as well as scientists from the Smithsonian and the National Zoo," Evans said. "We are looking for a person with a range of experiences in managing complex organizations with a strong background in science and animal care and who can build on the momentum for renewing the National Zoo."
Committee members, in alphabetical order, are:
- Sheila Burke—Deputy Secretary and Chief Operating Officer of the Smithsonian. Burke joined the Smithsonian as an under secretary in 2000.
- David Evans—Chair of the search committee and Under Secretary for Science at the Smithsonian since September 2002.
- Russell Greenberg—Director of the Smithsonian Migratory Bird Center located at the National Zoo and an expert on the ecology and conservation biology of neotropical birds for nearly 30 years. He conducted fieldwork at the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute in Panama, served as a research associate at the National Zoo, and became founding director of the Migratory Bird Center in 1992. He earned his doctorate in zoology at the University of California, Berkeley.
- Alan Kelly—The Gilbert S. Kahn Dean of Veterinary Medicine since 1995 and professor of pathology at University of Pennsylvania's School of Veterinary Medicine. Since the outbreak of mad cow disease in Britain, Kelly has concentrated his efforts on epidemiology and public health and food safety in the United States. He earned his doctorate in pathology at the University of Pennsylvania.
- Thomas LaRock—Executive Director of Friends of the National Zoo (FONZ) since January. He has held positions at the Toledo Zoo in Ohio, the Alabama Zoological Society and, most recently, Zoo Atlanta where he was senior vice present for external affairs. He earned his bachelor's degree at Union College in Schenectady, N.Y.
- Scott Miller—Acting Associate Director for Science at the National Zoo and senior biodiversity advisor to the director of the National Museum of Natural History. Miller has managed research and collections programs in major institutions for 18 years; serving as chairman of the entomology and systematic biology departments at Natural History. He earned his doctorate in biology at Harvard University.
- Jackie Ogden—Director of Animal Programs at the Walt Disney World Resort in Florida. An active member of the American Zoo and Aquarium Association (AZA), she is chair of its Conservation Education Committee. She earned her doctorate in experimental psychology, specializing in animal behavior at Georgia Institute of Technology.
- George Rabb—Former president of the Chicago Zoological Society and director of the Brookfield Zoo in Chicago (1976 through 2003). Rabb has affiliations with conservation organizations worldwide and is a spokesman on wildlife conservation issues. He served as chairman of the Species Survival Commission of the World Conservation Union (1990-1996). He earned his doctorate in zoology at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor.
- Franchon Smithson—Chairman of the National Zoo's advisory board since 2000. He is a general partner at General Atlantic Partners, LLC, a private equity firm in Greenwich, Conn. Smithson (no relation to the benefactor of the Smithsonian Institution, James Smithson) earned his master's in business administration at Butler University in Indianapolis, Ind.
- William Xanten—General Curator at the National Zoo since 2003 when he came back to the Zoo following his retirement in 1996. Xanten is head of the animal programs department and is a member of the Zoo's senior management team. In his former position at the Zoo, he held a number of animal care positions including keeper, curator, and special assistant to the director of exhibits.