The Astronomical Society of the Pacific announces the
selection of Michael Bennett to be its new Executive
Director, effective immediately. Bennett has served as the
ASP’s Acting Executive Director since August 2001.

Bennett has worked for the ASP since 1996. From 1996
to 1997, he served as the Society’s Education Coordinator,
and edited the teachers’ newsletter The Universe in the
Classroom. For the past four years, he has been in charge
of the ASP’s contract to provide education and public
outreach services for NASA’s SOFIA mission, an airborne
infrared observatory scheduled to begin observations in

Bennett holds a bachelor’s degree in Interdisciplinary
Physical Science from San Francisco State College and a
master’s degree in Interdisciplinary Science Education
from San Francisco State University. He began his career
in the planetarium field, and was responsible for some of
the early work in using the planetarium for educational
activities and laboratory exercises instead of just shows
and presentations. Bennett also spent several years in
marketing and advertising of high-tech products.

“I am very pleased that Mike Bennett has accepted the
position of ASP Executive Director. The ASP Board of
Directors, officers, and I have full confidence in Mike’s
ability to lead the Society into a new era of stability and
growth,” says ASP President Alexei V. Filippenko, a
Professor of Astronomy at the University of California,

“This is a tremendously exciting opportunity,” says
Bennett. “My two lifelong passions have been learning
astronomy and sharing astronomy, and now I get to help
guide the destiny of the largest organization in the world
devoted to those two objectives.”

The Executive Director is the chief operations officer for
the ASP and is responsible for the operation of the
headquarters of the Society and its staff. The Executive
Director is responsible for managing the affairs and
business of the Society, for reporting to the Board with
respect to the operations, affairs, and business of the
Society, and for carrying out the policies and
implementing the procedures determined by the Board of

Bennett is the ASP’s sixth Executive Director. He succeeds
James C. White, who left the ASP on July 31, 2001.

To download publishable, high-resolution photographs of
Michael Bennett, visit the ASP’s website at

The non-profit Astronomical Society of the Pacific was
founded in 1889 in San Francisco, and is still
headquartered there today. The ASP has since grown into
an international society. Its membership is spread over
all 50 states and 70 countries and includes professional
and amateur astronomers, science educators of all levels,
and people in the general public. The ASP publishes the
bimonthly Mercury magazine for its members, a technical
journal for professional astronomers, and an on-line
teachers’ newsletter. The ASP also coordinates Project
ASTRO, a national astronomy education program. The
Society produces a catalog of extensive astronomy-
related products for educators and the public.