Ayala joins NCSE board of directors


Francisco J. AyalaFrancisco J. Ayala

NCSE is pleased to announce the addition of Francisco J. Ayala, a distinguished evolutionary geneticist at the University of California, Irvine, to its board of directors. "I have long been impressed with NCSE's effective advocacy in the cause of the integrity of science education," Ayala explained. "At a time when its efforts are as needed as ever, I am pleased to become a member of NCSE's board of directors and to help it with its diverse efforts to defend the teaching of evolution and climate science."

NCSE's executive director Ann Reid commented, "Ayala's contributions to NCSE and its goal of defending the teaching of evolution in the public schools have always been substantial," citing in particular his testimony for the plaintiffs in McLean v. Arkansas and his coordination of support for evolution education at the National Academy of Sciences, including his lead authorship of Science, Evolution, and Creationism (National Academies Press, 2008; previous editions were published as Science and Creationism in 1984 and 1999). "We are thrilled at the prospect of having the benefit of his presence on the board."

Brian Alters, the president of NCSE's board of directors, was also enthusiastic. "Ayala was a student of Theodosius Dobzhansky," he remarked, "and there's no doubt that he learned his teacher's lesson well: that nothing in biology makes sense except in the light of evolution. I can't think of anyone who understands the importance of NCSE's work better or anyone who is more committed to the cause of defending science education than Francisco Ayala, and I am delighted to welcome him aboard." 

A supporter of NCSE since its founding, Ayala is University Professor, the Donald Bren Professor of Biological Sciences, and Professor of Philosophy at the University of California, Irvine. He received the National Medal for Science, the nation's highest award for lifetime achievement in scientific research, in 2001, and the Templeton Prize in 2010, as well as honorary degrees from twenty-one universities worldwide. A prolific author, his latest book is The Big Questions: Evolution (Quercus, 2012).

On NCSE's board of directors Ayala joins president Brian Alters of Chapman University, vice president and treasurer Lorne Trottier of Matrox, secretary Robert M. West of Informal Learning Experiences, Barbara Forrest of Southeastern Louisiana University, Richard B. Katskee of Mayer Brown LLP, Andrew J. Petto of the University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee, Benjamin D. Santer of Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, and Bernard Winograd formerly of Prudential Financial.