David Baltimore is perhaps the most influential living biologist and surely one of the most accomplished. His discovery of reverse transcriptase, an enzyme that permits certain kinds of viruses to replicate, has had profound implications for our understanding of cancer and of AIDS. He is our nation's leader in the effort to create an AIDS vaccine, and he was a major player in the creation of a national science policy consensus on recombinant DNA research. His creation and leadership of the Whitehead Institute for Biomedical Research has been praised by colleagues as remarkably skilled and effective.
In the coming decade, there may be rapid and remarkable changes in the relationships between research universities and government, industry, and society. Dr. Baltimore's wisdom and his proven abilities as an educator, researcher, administrator, and public advocate for science and engineering make him an outstanding choice to lead Caltech through this period of change and into the 21st century. I look forward to working with him to make our Institute even greater in the future than it has been in the past.