The Kavli Foundation Announces Three New Board Directors

Mary-Sue Coleman

March 25, 2014

The Kavli Foundation’s Board of Directors has announced the election of three new board members: Mary Sue Coleman, President of the University of Michigan; Richard A. Meserve, President of the Carnegie Institution for Science; and Gunnar K. Nilsen, President of BizArch Advisors.

With these appointments, the Foundation expands its Board of Directors from five to eight directors. Board membership had been reduced from seven by the passing in late 2013 of both Fred Kavli, Founder and Founding Chairman of The Kavli Foundation, and Charles M. Vest, Past President of the National Academy of Engineering and President Emeritus of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

“We are delighted to welcome Dr. Coleman, Dr. Meserve and Mr. Nilsen to the Foundation’s Board,” said Rockell N. Hankin, Chairman of The Kavli Foundation. “Each of these new Board members is extraordinary. At the University of Michigan, Dr. Coleman has demonstrated the kind of vision and leadership that has made her one of the nation’s most admired academic presidents. As head of the Carnegie Institution for Science, Dr. Meserve has masterfully grown and strengthened what has long been one of the world’s most renowned organizations at the forefront of scientific discovery and basic science research. And Mr. Nilsen, a business advisor with experience rooted in the US and Europe, as well as a member of our founder’s extended family, will be positioned to provide the essential business and mission guidance that the Foundation already depends upon.”

“The Kavli Foundation is dedicated to supporting basic science in the areas of astrophysics, nanoscience, neuroscience and theoretical physics. All three new Board members are critical additions as the Foundation moves through a transition period and grows in both resources and scale,” said Robert W. Conn, President, CEO and Board member of the Foundation. “In addition to their extraordinary leadership and administrative skills, Dr. Coleman is a distinguished biochemist and academic, and Dr. Meserve is a distinguished lawyer and physicist, and has been a leader in government. Mr. Nilsen brings a background in engineering as well as finance, which are areas of expertise important to the Foundation.”

Continuing members of The Kavli Foundation Board of Directors are Thomas E. Everhart, President Emeritus, California Institute of Technology; Douglas K. Freeman, Esq., Senior Managing Director, First Foundation Advisors; Henry T. Yang, Chancellor, University of California, Santa Barbara; Mr. Hankin, Chairman of the Board, Semtech Corporation; and Dr. Conn.

Mary Sue Coleman

Mary-Sue Coleman

Dr. Coleman has been president of the University of Michigan since 2002, where she has gained recognition as one of the nation’s preeminent leaders of higher education. Named by Time Magazine as one of the nation’s “10 best college presidents,” Dr. Coleman’s initiatives have included launching and expanding academic partnerships around the world, as well as a groundbreaking partnership between the University and Google to allow the public to have universal access to the university’s 7-million-volume library. President Obama selected her as one of six university presidents to help launch the Advanced Manufacturing Partnership, a national effort bringing together industry, universities and the federal government. And in 2010, U.S. Commerce Secretary Gary Locke named her co-chair of the National Advisory Council on Innovation and Entrepreneurship. She is the immediate past chair of the Association of American Universities. Elected to the Institute of Medicine, Dr. Coleman also is a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science and of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. Prior to becoming president of the University of Michigan, Dr. Coleman was president of the University of Iowa. (Full biography)

Richard A. Meserve

Richard Meserve

Dr. Meserve became president of the Carnegie Institution for Science in 2003, after stepping down as Chairman of the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) and being a member of Carnegie's board of trustees since 1992. As president of the Carnegie Institution, Dr. Meserve oversees an organization that, since 1902, has been dedicated to cutting-edge scientific discovery. Working in six scientific departments on the East and West Coasts, Carnegie investigators are leaders in the fields of plant biology, developmental biology, earth and planetary sciences, astronomy, and global ecology. Serving both Presidents Clinton and Bush as Chairman of the NRC, Dr. Meserve served as the principal executive officer of the federal agency with responsibility for ensuring the public health and safety in the operation of nuclear power plants and in the usage of nuclear materials. Before joining the NRC, Dr. Meserve was a partner in the Washington, D.C. law firm of Covington & Burling LLP, and now serves as its Senior Of Counsel. He also currently serves as chairman of the International Nuclear Safety Group, which is chartered by the International Atomic Energy Agency. He is a member of the American Philosophical Society and the National Academy of Engineering, and is a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, the American Association for the Advancement of Science, and the American Physical Society. (Full biography)

Gunnar K. Nilsen

Gunnar K. Nilsen

Mr. Nilsen is President of BizArch Advisors LLC, a consulting firm providing advice in the areas of business strategy and financing. Prior to establishing BizArch Advisors in 2012, he served as Director of Investments at Sunbelt Enterprises, a private real estate and investment firm, where he oversaw a portfolio of investments in equities and alternative assets. Mr. Nilsen has broad experience in finance, engineering and entrepreneurship, both in Europe and the U.S. In Europe, he has worked in the corporate finance division of Alfred Berg, becoming a partner when the firm was Europe’s leading Nordic investment bank. Mr. Nilsen also co-founded Presens, an electronic sensor company based in Norway, and was an active member of its board of directors until the sale to General Electric in 2012. Earlier in his career, he provided engineering and project management expertise related to oil and gas process control systems for Asea Brown Boveri, a leader in power and automation technologies. In the United States, he has worked for Kavlico Corporation in sensor design engineering and business development. Mr. Nilsen has held positions in equity research and portfolio management with a selection of private investment management firms, and has also been an investor and advisor to early-stage companies. He utilizes his experience to assist nonprofits and presently serves on the board of two nonprofit organizations. (Full biography)



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