David Skorton Installed as Smithsonian's 13th Secretary
Smithsonian Secretary David J. Skorton officially assumed his role on October 19th in a public ceremony held at the institution's historic Arts and Industries Building.
The Hon. John G. Roberts, Chief Justice of the United States and Chancellor of the Smithsonian, presented Skorton with a ceremonial key that once opened a Smithsonian Castle door and serves as a symbol of knowledge and guardianship.
In a nod to the secretary's musicianship and love of jazz, Wynton Marsalis played a Louis Armstrong trumpet from the Smithsonian's collections, accompanied by the Smithsonian Jazz Masterworks Orchestra.
Skorton remarked that the Smithsonian must play an important role in the world. He said our national and global challenges "cry out for" the arts and humanities alongside the sciences. "We are so fortunate to be the custodians of the greatest treasures of the greatest nation on Earth. Let's find more and better ways to share them, to understand their significance, to inform, to inspire, to make this world better—a lot better."
The former Cornell University president, a board-certified cardiologist, is the first physician to lead the Smithsonian in its 169-year history.