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Washington, D.C. – President of the Carnegie Institution, Richard A. Meserve, has been elected to the Harvard Board of Overseers—one of two governing bodies of the university. Harvard degree-holders annually elect members of the board for six-year terms.

The Board of Overseers was first organized in 1642. It has 30 members. The board is responsible for ensuring that the university adheres to its charter of educational excellence by visiting and assessing Harvard’s various schools, departments, and museums. The board gives formal consent to major initiatives and appointments. For more information see

Richard Meserve holds a Harvard law degree (1975 magna cum laude) and a Ph.D. in applied physics from Stanford University (1976). Before becoming president of the Carnegie Institution in 2003, he served as Chairman of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission. Meserve was previously a partner with Covington & Burling LLP, with a legal practice focused on technical issues arising at the intersection of science, law, and public policy. He served as legal counsel to the President’s science advisor, and was a law clerk to Justice Harry A. Blackmun of the United States Supreme Court and to Judge Benjamin Kaplan of the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court. He received his undergraduate degree in physics from Tufts University in 1966.

“It is an honor to be elected to the Harvard Board of Overseers,” commented Meserve. “The importance of science in addressing the world's problems is growing. I look forward to contributing to the critical role of institutions like Harvard in this effort.”

“As a Harvard alumnus and as someone who has had the privilege of working closely with Dick at the Carnegie Institution, I couldn't be more pleased by his election as Overseer,” remarked Carnegie Chairman of the Board, Michael Gellert. “I am sure he will make meaningful contributions to the Overseers' deliberations.”

Meserve has served on numerous legal and scientific committees over the years, including many established by the National Academies of Sciences and Engineering. He currently serves as chairman of the International Nuclear Safety Group, which is chartered by the International Atomic Energy Agency, and he is a member of the National Commission on Energy Policy. He is also a member of the National Academy of Engineering and American Philosophical Society, and he is a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, the American Association for the Advancement of Science, and the American Physical Society. Meserve serves on numerous boards including those of the Universities Research Association, Inc., and the PG&E Corporation, and on the Council of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.

The Carnegie Institution of Washington, a private nonprofit organization, has been a pioneering force in basic scientific research since 1902. It has six research departments: the Geophysical Laboratory and the Department of Terrestrial Magnetism, both located in Washington, D.C.; The Observatories, in Pasadena, California, and Chile; the Department of Plant Biology and the Department of Global Ecology, in Stanford, California; and the Department of Embryology, in Baltimore, Maryland.