WASHINGTON.- The Smithsonian Board of Regents today elected Patricia Stonesifer chair of the board, effective January 2009. She will succeed Roger Sant, who has served as chair since January. Stonesifer, senior advisor and former chief executive officer of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, has been a member of the board since 2001.
Currently, Stonesifer serves on the three-member executive committee of the board. She also is chair of the Regents’ compensation and human resources committee and a member of the governance and nominating committee.
As chair, Stonesifer will serve as the overall leader of the Board of Regents and its executive committee. Among her duties, she will represent the board in dealings with the Smithsonian Secretary and senior management and will work in partnership with the Secretary to carry out policies adopted by the Regents. Together with the chair of the compensation and human resources committee, she will lead the board in its annual evaluation of the Secretary’s performance and compensation. Stonesifer also will serve as the chief spokesperson for the board and will communicate with Congress and other Smithsonian stakeholders on behalf of the Regents.
“The Smithsonian provides unrivaled access to knowledge and culture to anyone who seeks it,” Stonesifer said. “We are at a moment in history where research and innovation have made it easier to preserve and celebrate culture and bring the world closer together.
“I am honored to work with the Regents, Secretary Clough and our partners to strengthen and lead this national treasure at a time of such tremendous opportunity.”
Stonesifer stepped down this month as chief executive officer of the foundation and began her new role as a senior advisor to the foundation’s trustees.
In addition to her responsibilities with the foundation, Stonesifer is an active community volunteer, donating both time and resources to a number of regional nonprofit organizations. Stonesifer is a member of the Council of Foreign Relations and a member of the American Academy of Arts & Sciences. She was a member of the U.S. delegation to the United Nations General Assembly Special Session on AIDS. She also serves on the boards of The Seattle Foundation, DATA/ONE (Debt AIDS Trade Africa) and Amazon.com.
Before helping Bill and Melinda Gates launch the Gates Learning Foundation in 1997, Stonesifer was a senior vice president at Microsoft.