Wayne Clough, a secretary emeritus of the Smithsonian Institution and a former president of Georgia Tech, will deliver the fall 2015 Hugh and Ethel Kelly Lecture at 1:30 p.m. Oct. 2 in the Haymarket Theatre on the second floor of the Squires Student Center, 290 College Ave., in Blacksburg.

His talk, “Climate Change: Engineering reality into the debate,” will be open to all members of the campus community.

Clough served as the 10th president of the Georgia Institute of Technology from 1994 to 2008 and as the 12th Secretary of the Smithsonian from 2008 to 2014. A native of Georgia, he earned a bachelor’s degree and a master’s degree from Georgia Tech and a Ph.D. from the University of California at Berkeley. 

He taught at Duke, Stanford, and Virginia Tech, where he served as the chair of the Charles E. Via Jr. Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering and as the dean of the College of Engineering. His research focused on geotechnical engineering, including earthquake studies and soil analysis.

Clough was elected to the National Academy of Engineering in 1990 and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 2010. He has served on the National Science Board and the President's Council of Advisors on Science and Technology.

Clough’s tenure at the Smithsonian was marked by improved relations with Congress, growth in museum visitors from 25 million to 32 million, commitment to digital outreach and education, focus on sustainability and interdisciplinary activities, and enhanced private support. The new $570 million National Museum of African American History and Culture was funded, and seven of the Smithsonian’s 19 museums and galleries saw major renovations.

Clough also laid the foundation for the Digital Smithsonian, an initiative to preserve and broaden access to the 137 million objects in the museum’s collection.

The Kelly gift to the Institute for Critical Technology and Applied Science and the College of Engineering helped establish the lecture series in 2013. 

This distinguished speaker series honors Hugh Kelly’s technical accomplishments, and the Kellys’ support of Virginia Tech. As a researcher at AT&T’s Bell Laboratories, Kelly, who earned a bachelor’s degree and a master’s degree from Virginia Tech, played key roles in groundbreaking projects including the 1962 launch of the Telstar communications satellite. Ethel Kelly supported Virginia Tech’s College of Engineering as a way of honoring her husband’s legacy.

Kelly Hall, which houses the headquarters of the Institute for Critical Technology and Applied Science, is also named in honor of the couple.

Nobel Laureate and former U.S. Energy Secretary Steven Chu presented the inaugural lecture, “How to Create a Bell Labs 2.0 in Today’s Realities,” in October 2013. Over 1,000 members of the Virginia Tech community attended the talk, held during the first Research Day celebration organized by the Institute for Critical Technology and Applied Science.

Visitors may park in the North End Center garage at 212 Turner St. NW. Metered and public parking is also available in downtown Blacksburg. Contact the Institute for Critical Technology and Applied Science at (540) 231-2761 for a parking pass or campus map.

If you are an individual with a disability and desire an accommodation, please contact Eleanor Nelsen at (540) 231-2761 or email enelsen@vt.edu during regular business hours at least 10 business days prior to the event.