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Farrington to lead California Academy of Sciences



Gregory Farrington

Gregory Farrington, who has served as Distinguished University Service Professor since stepping down as Lehigh president in June 2006, has accepted the position of executive director of the California Academy of Sciences based in San Francisco.

Farrington, who was president of Lehigh for eight years, will take the helm of the oldest scientific institution in the west and the fourth largest natural history museum in the country on Feb. 26. In recent months, Farrington has worked from London assessing international program opportunities for Lehigh.

“We are grateful for Greg Farrington’s creative vision that helped shape our academic mission and fueled development of distinctive programs that have attracted outstanding faculty, students, and staff to our campus,” said Lehigh President Alice P. Gast, who became Lehigh’s 13th president in August. “The university has been extremely fortunate to have had someone of his ability, caliber, and integrity at Lehigh. I’m sure these qualities will be equally valued, and important, in his position as executive director of the California Academy of Sciences. We wish him the very best in his new role.”

The California Academy of Sciences, founded in 1853, is home to Steinhart Aquarium, Morrison Planetarium, and the Kimball Natural History Museum. A new home for the academy is currently being built in San Francisco’s Golden Gate Park, and is expected to open in fall 2008.

“Dr. Farrington will build on the academy’s proud legacy and successfully steer the institution during this exciting time of advancement,” said Richard Bingham, chair of The California Academy of Sciences Board of Trustees. “We are confident that his leadership skills in the university world mirror the academy’s needs across its educational, research and community programs.”

Farrington was dean of the School of Engineering and Applied Science at the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia before coming to Lehigh in 1998. He earned his Ph.D. from Harvard University in chemistry in 1972, and began his career as a chemist that same year when he joined the General Electric Company as a staff scientist. He joined Penn’s Department of Materials Science and Engineering in 1979.

He holds or shares more than two dozen patents and has written or edited several books and book chapters in his field, as well as more than 100 technical publications.

Farrington said he is looking forward to guiding the California Academy of Sciences in the coming years.

“This wonderful institution, with its special history of impacting the lives of children, adults and fellow scientists, is addressing some of the most intriguing and challenging topics of our time: life, its origins and its sustainability,” Farrington said. “Located in the Bay Area—a nexus of forward thinking and scientific advancement—the academy is poised to champion these critical issues.”


Posted on Thursday, January 18, 2007

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