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Gilbert M. Grosvenor

Gil Grosvenor


Gilbert M. Grosvenor’s life has revolved around the National Geographic Society (NGS). Most recently he has been chair of the NGS board of trustees and the NGS Education Foundation. Now largely retired, Mr. Grosvenor looks back on a stunning career in which he was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2004 and 14 honorary doctorates at major universities, including Texas State.

Concerned about the lack of geographic knowledge among students, and the often-inadequate preparation of geography teachers, in 1985 Mr. Grosvenor launched an effort to improve geography education in the nation’s classrooms. NGS's Geography Education Outreach program (State Alliance) and its local partners have invested more than $120 million to improve geography in America’s schools.

During Mr. Grosvenor’s tenure as chair, NGS created and ran the National Geographic Bee, the magazine National Geographic Traveler, the Nat Geo television station, an educational publishing division, and even the production of several movies. NGS has become famous for its educational trips, its first-floor displays at Society headquarters in Washington, D.C. and its panel of Emerging Explorers.

Mr. Grosvenor and his wife Wiley live in Virginia.