Smithsonian Names Former Okla. Higher Education Chancellor Acting Director of Natural History Museum

By Price, Marie | THE JOURNAL RECORD, April 2, 2007 | Go to article overview

Smithsonian Names Former Okla. Higher Education Chancellor Acting Director of Natural History Museum


Price, Marie, THE JOURNAL RECORD


Former Oklahoma higher education chancellor Paul Risser has been named acting director of the Smithsonian Institution's National Museum of Natural History, effective April 18.

Risser, 68, replaces museum director Cristian Samper, now acting secretary of the Smithsonian.

Risser said the museum is the premier history institution in the country, if not the world.

"To have a chance to provide leadership for a short period of time is a real opportunity for me," he said Friday.

Risser said he is looking forward to working with the museum's outstanding collections of minerals, gems and the like.

"To me the exciting part is, it takes the science and the information we get from the collections and makes it understandable to the public in all of the exhibits," he said. "So being able to put exhibits together with good science and good collect ions is a wonderful opportunity."

"In an interesting way," Risser said in a statement, "the museum's extraordinary exhibits and its research and education programs are probably more important today for our country than at any time in our history. "Our understanding of the natural sciences is unfolding at an extremely rapid rate, making it a challenge to just keep up with new discoveries and their applications."

The former president of Oregon State University, Risser served as chancellor from 2003 to July 2006, when he assumed the post of chairman of the University of Oklahoma Research Cabinet. In that post, he coordinates research across OU's three campuses. …

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