Alert to the uses of social media, he hasn’t abandoned traditional teaching methods either, and pointed to the 2,000 lesson plans the institution has developed for classroom teaching and the program promoting science, technology, engineering and mathematics education in classrooms in North Carolina, Texas and New Mexico.
He also seeks to encourage ingenuity and praised the Smithsonian’s Ingenuity Awards, citing the example of 15-year-old high school student Jack Andraka who won one last year for his work in exploring diagnostic tools for early detection of pancreatic cancer.
Dr. Clough said that Jack told him he was inspired to learn by a visit to institution’s Natural History Museum as a 12-year-old.
And it’s this sort of accessibility that he wants to conserve, keeping the institution free to the public. Although the institution faces a $45 million sequestration budget cut, he said the costs of putting an entry fee in place didn’t make sense, nor would keeping out potential visitors who wouldn’t be able to pay.
While he has traveled the globe, it was clear that his ties to Georgia remain strong and many of the Rotarians raised their hands when asked how many were graduates of Georgia Tech where the $85 million Undergraduate Learning Commons is named in his honor.
He also serves with other former Atlantans on the various Smithsonian staffs including Dennis Kelly, director of the National Zoo who was president and CEO of Zoo Atlanta 2003-09, and Johnnetta Cole, president of Spelman College from 1987-97, who is the director of the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African Art.
When Mr. Kelly suggested that a carousel be placed at the institution’s National Zoological Park with models of exotic and endangered species on which to ride, the money was raised with help from Georgia Tech graduates, including John Huffman, CEO of Pepco Energy Services Inc. who donated the solar panels that power its engine.
In view that Dr. Clough, Mr. Kelly and Mr. Huffman, among other donors, are all graduates of Georgia Tech, it is of little surprise that one of the animals on the carousel is a yellow jacket.