- Associated Press - Monday, January 23, 2012

WASHINGTON (AP) - The Smithsonian Institution is having a change in leadership as Purdue University President France Cordova becomes chairwoman of the governing board for the world’s largest museum and research complex.

Cordova was elected in September and assumes the post Monday. She’s an astrophysicist and has led the Indiana university since 2007. Previously she held posts in the University of California system and was chief scientist at NASA. She has served on the Smithsonian Board of Regents since 2009.

Cordova succeeds Patty Stonesifer, a former Microsoft executive and former chief executive of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. Stonesifer has served as chairwoman since 2009 and will become vice chair of the board.

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