Dr. Shirley Ann Jackson Appointed to Nature Conservancy Global Board of Directors

June 20, 2019

Dr. Shirley Ann Jackson Appointed to Nature Conservancy Global Board of Directors

Rensselaer president’s upcoming appointment to start in February 2020

TROY, N.Y. – The Nature Conservancy, one of the world’s most effective and wide-reaching environmental organizations, on Thursday announced the upcoming appointment of Dr. Shirley Ann Jackson, president of Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, to its global Board of Directors.

“TNC brings scientists, policy experts, and leaders together to develop effective strategies for addressing some of the most pressing issues of our time,” Dr. Jackson said. “Their philosophy and approach is aligned with the Rensselaer vision of The New Polytechnic, which produces multidisciplinary solutions to the interconnected challenges facing humanity. In this collaborative spirit, I look forward to working with the global Board on their ongoing efforts to create an environment that allows all people to thrive.”

Dr. Jackson’s appointment, which will start in February 2020, was announced along with three others: Amy Batchelor, managing director of the Anchor Point Foundation; Kent J. Thiry, executive chairman of DaVita; and Kevin Weil, vice president of product for Facebook’s blockchain initiative, Calibra.

“To successfully take on the most pressing environmental challenges facing us, TNC needs people with ambition and big ideas,” said Board Chair Tom Tierney. “That is why I couldn’t be more excited to announce the appointment of these four leaders to our global Board. They have each excelled and innovated in their fields, and I look forward to them bringing their passion and brilliance to our work in helping tackle climate change and protecting the lands and waters on which all life depends.”

“I am honored to welcome these distinguished individuals to our global Board of Directors,” said Board Chair-elect Fran Ulmer. “I am eager to collaborate with each of them as TNC moves confidently into the future.”

Dr. Jackson is the 18th president of Rensselaer, the oldest technological research university in the United States, where she has led an extraordinary transformation since 1999. Described by Time magazine as “perhaps the ultimate role model for women in science,” she has held senior leadership positions in academia, government, industry, and research.

A theoretical physicist, Dr. Jackson holds an S.B. in Physics, and a Ph.D. in Theoretical Elementary Particle Physics, both from MIT. In September 2014, United States President Barack Obama appointed her as Co-Chair of the President’s Intelligence Advisory Board, where she served until January 2017. She also served on the U.S. Secretary of State International Security Advisory Board from 2011 to 2017, and the U.S. Secretary of Energy Advisory Board from 2013 to 2017. From 2009 to 2014, Dr. Jackson served on the President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology (PCAST), and, as part of PCAST, was Co-Chair of the President’s Innovation and Technology Advisory Committee (PITAC).

Before taking the helm at Rensselaer, Dr. Jackson was Chairman of the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC), from 1995 to 1999. During her tenure at the NRC, Dr. Jackson spearheaded the formation of the International Nuclear Regulators Association (INRA), and served as its Chairman from 1997-1999.

Dr. Jackson is a member of the U.S. National Academy of Engineering, the American Philosophical Society, and the Council on Foreign Relations. She is a Life Member of the MIT Corporation, and a former Vice-Chair of the Board of Regents of the Smithsonian Institution. In October 2017, she was named Regent Emerita of the Smithsonian Institution. She currently serves on the boards of major corporations that include FedEx and IBM.

Dr. Jackson holds 55 honorary doctoral degrees. In 2016, United States President Barack Obama awarded her the National Medal of Science, the nation’s highest honor in science and engineering.


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About Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute

Founded in 1824, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute is America’s first technological research university. Rensselaer encompasses five schools, over 30 research centers, more than 140 academic programs including 25 new programs, and a dynamic community made up of over 6,800 students and 104,000 living alumni. Rensselaer faculty and alumni include upwards of 155 National Academy members, six members of the National Inventors Hall of Fame, six National Medal of Technology winners, five National Medal of Science winners, and a Nobel Prize winner in Physics. With nearly 200 years of experience advancing scientific and technological knowledge, Rensselaer remains focused on addressing global challenges with a spirit of ingenuity and collaboration. To learn more, please visit www.rpi.edu.