France A. Córdova, director of the National Science Foundation, will deliver remarks at the formal installation ceremony for Virginia Tech President Timothy D. Sands, on Friday, Oct. 17.

Sands will be formally installed as the university’s 16th president beginning at 2 p.m. in Burruss Hall Auditorium. The event is free and open to all members of the university community and the general public.

Córdova has been director of the National Science Foundation since March 31, 2014. She leads the only government science agency charged with advancing all fields of scientific discovery, technological innovation, and science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) education. 

NSF's programs and initiatives keep the United States at the forefront of science and engineering, empower future generations of scientists and engineers, and foster U.S. prosperity and global leadership.

Córdova is president emerita of Purdue University, where she served as president from 2007 to 2012. While president at Purdue, she appointed Sands to become vice president for academic affairs and provost.

From 2002 to 2007, Córdova led the University of California, Riverside, as chancellor and was a distinguished professor of physics and astronomy. She was the vice chancellor for research and professor of physics at the University of California, Santa Barbara, from 1996 to 2002.

From 1993 to 1996, Córdova served as NASA's chief scientist. Prior to joining NASA, she was on the faculty of the Pennsylvania State University where she headed the department of astronomy and astrophysics from 1989 to 1993. 

Córdova was deputy group leader in the earth and space sciences division at Los Alamos National Laboratory from 1988 to 1989 and staff scientist from 1979 to 1989. More recently, Córdova served as chair of the Board of Regents of the Smithsonian Institution and on the board of trustees of Mayo Clinic.

Córdova's scientific contributions have been in the areas of observational and experimental astrophysics, multi-spectral research on x-ray and gamma ray sources and space-borne instrumentation. She has published more than 150 scientific papers. 

She is a recipient of NASA's highest honor, the Distinguished Service Medal, and was recognized as a Kilby Laureate in 2000. The Kilby International Awards recognize extraordinary individuals who have made "significant contributions to society through science, technology, innovation, invention and education." 

Córdova was elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and is a National Associate of the National Academies. She is also a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) and the Association for Women In Science (AWIS).

The most current information on the two-day presidential installation celebration can be found on the presidential installation website. All events listed on the website are free and open to the public; preregistration is requested at the presidential installation website.

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