Rensselaer President Shirley Ann Jackson has been recognized as one of the “25 Great Public Servants of the past 25 years,” by the Council for Excellence in Government. The esteemed group was honored Dec. 10 at the Council’s 25th anniversary gala in Washington, D.C.
President Jackson was cited for her “remarkable service to the nation as Chair of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission and a leader in the advancement of science.” In their words, she is “an inspirational role model for a new generation of public servants.”
The 25 Great Public Servants were selected, by a committee of Council Trustees, for their “outstanding leadership in government at all levels and the example they set for up-and-coming public servants across the country.” Together they “personify the imagination, experience, talent, and commitment to the public interest that is so urgently needed to meet the challenges we face and inspire future public servants to follow in your footsteps,” wrote Council Executive Director Patricia McGinnis.
“It is a privilege for me to be honored, with a very distinguished group, for my involvement in the advancement of science and for my leadership of a federal agency whose work is rooted in science, must be fact-based, and is crucial to the progress of humankind through the peaceful uses of a technology that is critically important, but which must be very carefully handled to protect humankind and to engender public trust,” President Jackson said. “It also is an honor to lead Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, an institution committed to educating the next generation of leaders, including those who will pursue the extraordinarily important path of public service.”
The “25 Great Public Servants” being honored by the Council are: The Honorable Everett Alvarez Jr.; The Honorable James A. Baker III; Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg; Mayor Richard M. Daley; Dr. Anthony S. Fauci; The Honorable Al Gore; The Honorable Lee H. Hamilton; The Honorable Shirley Ann Jackson; The Honorable Thomas H. Kean; The Honorable Edward M. Kennedy; The Honorable John Lewis; The Honorable Richard G. Lugar; Wilma Mankiller; The Honorable Norman Y. Mineta; The Honorable George J. Mitchell; Justice Sandra Day O’Connor; The Honorable Peter G. Peterson; The Honorable Colin L. Powell; The Honorable Thomas J. Ridge; The Honorable Alice M. Rivlin; The Honorable Robert E. Rubin; The Honorable George P. Schulz; The Honorable Donna E. Shalala; The Honorable Paul A. Volcker; and The Honorable John C. Whitehead.
“Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute has been the direct beneficiary of Dr. Jackson’s excellence, her talent, her energy, her commitment, and her vision for nearly a decade, and for that we are both grateful and extremely proud,” said Rensselaer Board of Trustees Chairman Samuel Heffner Jr. ’56. “We join in congratulating her for this tremendous honor.”
A theoretical physicist, Jackson has held senior leadership positions in government, industry, research, and academe. Her research and policy focus includes energy security and the national capacity for innovation, including addressing what she has dubbed the “Quiet Crisis” of looming gaps in the science, technology, and engineering workforce and reduced support for basic research.
President Jackson was chairman of the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission from 1995 to 1999. She serves on the U.S. Comptroller-General’s Advisory Committee for the Government Accountability Office. She has been a member of the National Advisory Council for Biomedical Imaging and Bioengineering of the National Institutes of Health, and the Advisory Committee for the U.S. Department of Energy National Nuclear Security Administration. She was a member of the U.S. Department of Energy Task Force on the future of its multipurpose National Laboratories (the 1994 “Galvin” Commission). She also has served on a number of committees of the National Research Council of the National Academy of Sciences.
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