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Nominee for energy secretary has strong MIT ties

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Samuel W. Bodman, a chemical engineer with strong ties to MIT and extensive experience in both the private sector and public service, has been named secretary of the U.S. Energy Department by President George W. Bush.

Bodman, 66, is currently deputy secretary of the treasury. He served as deputy secretary of commerce from 2001 to 2004.

Susan Hockfield, president of MIT, said of the announcement, "I am delighted that President Bush has nominated Sam Bodman--a distinguished MIT alumnus, a former member of our faculty, and a former Institute trustee--to be secretary of energy. In this new role, Dr. Bodman will exemplify MIT's longstanding commitment to public service, which he has upheld as deputy secretary of commerce and deputy secretary of the treasury."

A Chicago native, Bodman received the Sc.D. degree in chemical engineering from MIT in 1965. He was an associate professor of chemical engineering for 6 years before entering the private sector. He is a former director of MIT's Chemical Engineering Practice School, a former member of the MIT Commission on Education and a former member of the executive and investment committees at MIT.

Dana Mead, chairman of the MIT Corporation, described Bodman as a "long-time distinguished member of the MIT Corporation, and a valued member of its most important committees, who will bring a renewed sense of innovation, entrepreneurship and enlightened public policy to one of the nation's most important challenges--energy."

Bodman said he hoped to carry forth President Bush's "vision of sound energy policy to ensure a steady supply of affordable energy for America's homes and businesses and to work toward the day when America achieves energy independence."

If confirmed by the Senate, Bodman would replace Secretary of Energy Spencer Abraham. Impending challenges for Bodman in his new office will include getting Congress to enact energy legislation and untangling legal and financial problems related to cleaning up the Yucca Mountain nuclear waste dump.

According to Bodman, these intricate and daunting challenges add up to a job that would "combine all aspects of my life's work." One theme connecting his research, teaching and government service is "dealing with the financial markets and the impact of energy and technology on those markets," he said.

Charles M. Vest, president emeritus of MIT, said Bodman's "experience as a leader in business, technology, academia and government will serve the nation well. He has direct knowledge of the technologies that must be pursued for our nation to have secure, sustainable, clean and affordable sources and distribution of energy."

Bodman's work in the finance industry began when he started consulting with the venture capital sector. He served as technical director of the American Research and Development Corporation, a pioneer venture capital firm, after teaching at MIT, then went to Fidelity Venture Associates, a division of Fidelity Investments. In 1983 he was named president and chief operating officer of Fidelity Investments and a director of the Fidelity Group of Mutual Funds. In 1988, he joined Cabot Corporation, a Boston-based Fortune 300 company with global business activities in specialty chemicals and materials, where he served as chairman, CEO, and a director. Over the years, he has been a director of many other publicly owned corporations.

Bodman is married to M. Diane Bodman. He has three children, two stepchildren, and seven grandchildren. He and his wife reside in Washington, D.C.

A version of this article appeared in MIT Tech Talk on December 15, 2004 (download PDF).

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