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I. Michael Heyman Obituary

5/30/1930 - 11/19/2011| Visit Guest Book
I. Michael Heyman (AP Photo)
I. Michael Heyman (AP Photo)
WASHINGTON (AP) — I. Michael Heyman, who was the first non-scientist to lead the Smithsonian Institution after serving as chancellor of the University of California, Berkeley, has died. He was 81.

Heyman died at his Berkeley home Saturday after a long battle with emphysema. The Smithsonian and the university announced his death Monday.

During five years as chief of the world's largest museum and research complex, Heyman oversaw creation of the Smithsonian's first website and an affiliations network that now includes 170 museums across the country. He secured funding to build the National Museum of the American Indian and a major donation for a National Air and Space Museum annex in northern Virginia.

Heyman arrived at the Smithsonian in 1994 facing controversy over the Air and Space Museum's planned exhibition of the B-29 Enola Gay that dropped the atomic bomb on Hiroshima. Some historians and veterans groups complained it was too sympathetic to the Japanese.

Heyman eventually cancelled the planned exhibit and replaced it in 1995 with a simple display without commentary, context or analysis of the turning point of World War II.

Current Smithsonian Secretary Wayne Clough said Heyman was a "proud veteran of the U.S. Marine Corps" and had "tackled the tough controversy" over the Enola Gay.

"Heyman was unflinchingly optimistic about the Smithsonian's ability to be a force for knowledge and inspiration in our society," Clough said in a statement. He said Heyman's signature program was a celebration of the Smithsonian's 150th anniversary in 1996 with a major traveling exhibit, "America's Smithsonian."

He retired from the museum in 2000.

A 2007 examination of the Smithsonian's management and finances found that Heyman built a structure that significantly increased private contributions, though his successor, Lawrence Small, later took credit for record fundraising.

Heyman was a lawyer for the U.S. Department of the Interior when he was chosen to lead the Smithsonian as its first non-scientist secretary in its history. He was the institution's 10th secretary since its founding in 1846, overseeing 16 museums, the National Zoo and a cluster of research centers at the time.

Heyman was a graduate of Dartmouth and earned his law degree at Yale. In 1958 and 1959, he was a law clerk to Chief Justice Earl Warren.

He went on to serve as chancellor of UC Berkeley from 1980 to 1990 and was a professor emeritus of the Berkeley School of Law.

"Mike Heyman was a great and inspiring leader whose vision helped shape the future of the Berkeley campus," said university Chancellor Robert Birgeneau in a message sent out to the campus. "Simply, he believed that Berkeley should be second to none, and open to all."

A memorial service for Heyman will be held on campus, but the date hasn't been set, the university said.



Copyright © 2011 The Associated Press
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WASHINGTON  I. Michael Heyman, who was the first non-scientist to lead the Smithsonian Institution after serving as chancellor of the University of California, Berkeley, has died. He was 81. ... Read Obituary

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