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Smithsonian taps former Thunderbird President Barbara Barrett for Board of Regents

January 10, 2013

Former Interim President of Thunderbird School of Global Management, Barbara Barrett, has been appointed a member of the Smithsonian’s Board of Regents. President Barack Obama signed the resolution on January 10, appointing her as a citizen regent. Barrett’s six-year term begins immediately.

The 17-member Smithsonian Board of Regents includes nine citizen members, three members of the House of Representatives and three members of the Senate, as well as the chief justice of the United States and the vice president, both ex officio voting members. The Board of Regents is the governing body of the Smithsonian Institution.

With a connection to the Smithsonian since the 1980s when Barrett was a member of the National Air and Space Museum Board, she served on the Smithsonian National Board for most of the last decade and co-founded Smithsonian Gemstone Collectors in 2010.

Barrett is CEO of Triple Creek Guest Ranch, an award-winning Montana resort. She also serves on the governing boards of RAND and Aerospace Corporations, Sally Ride Science™, and Lasker and Space Foundations. Barrett recently concluded her tenure as Interim President of Thunderbird School of Global Management.

Earlier, Barrett was U.S. Ambassador to Finland, CEO of the American Management Association, a Fellow teaching Leadership at Harvard and a member of the boards of Raytheon, Exponent and Piper Aircraft Corporations, Hershey Trust and Mayo Clinic.

Federally, Barrett was Senior Advisor to the U.S. Mission to the United Nations, Deputy Administrator of the Federal Aviation Administration and Vice Chairman of the Civil Aeronautics Board. She chaired the State Department’s Women’s Economic Empowerment Working Group, the Advisory Commission on Public Diplomacy and the Secretary of Commerce’s Export Conference. As a member of the U.S.-Afghan Women’s Council, she founded a program to train and mentor Afghan women entrepreneurs.

In Arizona, Barrett was founding Chairman of Valley Bank of Arizona, a partner in a large law firm and, before she was thirty, an executive of two Fortune 500 companies.

Barrett earned her bachelor, master and law degrees at Arizona State University. Honorary doctorates have been conferred by ASU, Thunderbird, Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, the University of South Carolina, Pepperdine University and Finlandia University. She has been recognized with the Horatio Alger Award and Sandra Day O’Connor Board Excellence Award.

An instrument rated pilot, Barrett trained at the Gagarin Cosmonaut Training Center in Star City, Russia, and Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan, culminating in certification as an astronaut.