The Giant Magellan Telescope Organization (GMTO) announced today that Professor Wendy Freedman is stepping down from the GMTO Board after 12 years as its Chair. Professor Freedman, the John and Marion Sullivan University Professor of Astronomy and Astrophysics at the University of Chicago, was one of the initiators of the Giant Magellan Telescope (GMT) project and a key founding figure for the organization. She led GMTO from its inception, with seed funding of $500,000 through the recent start of construction, with funding of half-a-billion dollars. Her vision for GMT has brought together an international partnership of eleven institutions from four countries to build a next-generation telescope that will probe deeper into the universe than ever before.
Professor Freedman said, “After more than a decade of guiding GMTO through the design phase and now into construction, it is time for me to devote more effort to my science research interests. I look forward to using the GMT when it is operational.”
Professor Taft Armandroff, Vice-Chair of the GMTO Board and Director of McDonald Observatory at the University of Texas, Austin, noted that, “Wendy has led the GMT project from its earliest conception to the start of construction. GMTO has been most fortunate to have had her guidance for so long.”
Professor Matthew Colless, a Board member from the Australian National University, also thanked Professor Freedman, saying, “The GMTO partnership has reached the present construction milestone only because of Wendy’s extraordinary efforts to form the partnership and her inspirational leadership. The GMTO partners offer their heartfelt appreciation to Wendy for all she has contributed to the project.”
Taft Armandroff, as Vice Chair, will lead the GMTO Board until a new Chair is selected.