Marcia McNutt, the president of the National Academy of Sciences, will be the keynote speaker at Commencement this year, the University announced Monday.
McNutt was elected the first woman president of NAS in 2016. Prior to this position, McNutt was appointed to serve as director of the U.S. Geological Survey under President Barack Obama’s administration, where she was called on to respond to several major disasters, including earthquakes in Haiti and Japan and the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.
“Marcia McNutt is not only one of our nation’s foremost scientific leaders but she also sets a powerful example as the first woman to lead one of the National Academies,” University President Thomas LeBlanc said in the release.
McNutt has also served as president and CEO of the Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute in Moss Landing, Calif. and the editor-in-chief of the Science family of journals.
The selection of McNutt as the keynote commencement speaker comes at a time when administrators are emphasizing and evaluating the University’s role as a research institution.
McNutt will be joined by alumna Elana Meyers Taylor, a three-time Olympic medalist who just received a silver medal for women’s bobsled at the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang. Taylor – a former Colonial softball player and a double alumna of GW’s public health and business schools – will receive an honorary degree during this year’s ceremonies.
University Commencement will take place on the National Mall May 20.