The universe awaits

Executive Team

Our project is made possible by our Founder Institutions as well as individual and corporate sponsorship.
The Giant Magellan Telescope's executive team is focused on assembling the resources and international relations required to build the world’s most advanced ground-based telescope.
  • Robert Shelton

    Robert Shelton


    Dr. Robert Shelton is President of the GMTO Corporation, the international nonprofit organization building the Giant Magellan Telescope. Prior to joining the Giant Magellan Telescope in 2017, Dr. Shelton was the President of the Research Corporation for Science Advancement, America’s first foundation dedicated solely to funding science. Previously, Dr. Shelton served as the 19th President of the University of Arizona, the Executive Vice Chancellor and Provost of the University of North Carolina Chapel Hill, and the Vice Provost for Research for the University of California system. His leadership role involving large astronomy project includes governing board service on the Keck Observatories (California Association for Research in Astronomy), the LSST Corporation (Rubin Observatory), the Space Telescope Institute Council (Hubble Telescope), and the Association of Universities for Research in Astronomy.

    As a distinguished physicist, Dr. Shelton studied experimental condensed matter focusing on novel materials and their properties. During this time, he authored more than 240 research publications in refereed journals and 100 contributing papers. Dr. Shelton received his B.S. from Stanford University and his M.S. and Ph.D. from the University of California, San Diego.

  • Rebecca Bernstein

    Rebecca Bernstein

    Chief Scientist

    Dr. Bernstein is the Project Scientist for GMTO and plays a leading role in ensuring that the observatory and its instruments will enable scientists at the Founder institutions to meet the project’s scientific goals. She interfaces with the technical and scientific community and represents the project at scientific conferences around the world. She is an accomplished optical designer and builder of scientific instruments, having designed and built a high-resolution spectrograph for Magellan and carried out the optical design for several others. She held professorships at the University of Michigan and the University of California, Santa Cruz before coming to GMTO. While at the University of California she led the design of a spectrograph for the Thirty Meter Telescope. She is a Staff Astronomer at the Observatories of the Carnegie Institution.

  • James Fanson

    James Fanson

    Project Manager

    Dr. Fanson is the GMTO Project Manager. He is responsible for the overall technical and program management of the project. He leads the staff of engineers, scientists, and schedule and cost analysts responsible for the design, construction, and commissioning of the observatory. He holds a Ph.D. in Applied Mechanics from Caltech and spent 30 years at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL), where he developed a number of space-based telescopes. Dr. Fanson played leading roles in many of NASA’s most successful astrophysics programs, particularly the Kepler exoplanet mission, the infrared Spitzer Space Telescope, and the ultraviolet Galaxy Explorer (GALEX). He was a key member of the team that built Wide-Field PlanetaryCamera 2, the instrument that restored Hubble’s vision. Dr. Fanson has served on the Board of Directors for AURA (Associated Universities for Research in Astronomy) and the Gemini Observatory Council.

  • Jennifer Eccles

    Jennifer Eccles

    Vice President of Development and External Relations

    Jennifer Eccles is the Vice President for Development and External Relations at GMTO. For ten years, she worked at the University of Southern California in development leadership roles, as the Executive Director of Development at the USC Sol Price School of Public Policy and the Chief Development Officer at USC Libraries. Jennifer has spent her career in higher education advancement, and has worked at the University of Washington, Washington State University and the University of Idaho in development roles.

  • Alan Gordon

    Alan Gordon

    Chief Financial Officer and Vice President of Business Operations

    Mr. Gordon is Chief Financial Officer for GMTO. He leads the financial operations of GMTO and works closely with the Executive Team and Finance Committee to set financial policy and strategic plans. He was Chief Financial Officer at Transcu Group Limited, Segment Financial Officer at SunGard Data Systems, Inc., and Finance Director for Avery Dennison Corporation. He is experienced in U.S. GAAP and IFRS accounting; management and statutory reporting; budgeting, forecasting, planning, and analysis. Mr. Gordon has worked in international finance across Asia and the Pacific Rim.

  • Sara Lee Keller

    Sara Lee Keller

    General Counsel and Corporate Secretary

    Ms. Keller is General Counsel for GMTO, responsible for oversight of all legal and compliance issues for the company, including corporate governance, regulatory compliance, legal agreements, contract review and compliance, and vendor relationships. She was Executive Vice President and General Counsel for Clear Channel Outdoor; Senior Vice President, General Counsel, and Secretary for Trustmark Companies; and was Associate General Counsel for General Electric. She has been recognized by the Association of Corporation Counsel and First Chair. She is a certified Project Manager and is Six Sigma Green Belt certified.

  • Miguel Roth

    Miguel Roth

    Vice President and Legal Representative, Chile

    Dr. Roth is the GMTO Legal Representative in Chile, responsible for all activities of the organization in Chile. He works closely with the Chilean government agencies on legal matters relating to the observatory, including dark sky protection and land use issues, and works with local communities on education and outreach. Dr.Roth is GMTO’s principal point of contact with Chilean Universities and the local astronomical community. He has led operations for two international observatories, serving as Director of the National Astronomical Observatory in Mexico from 1981 to 1987 and Director of Carnegie’s Las Campanas Observatory in Chile from 1990 to 2014. He has participated in multiple advisory committees and peer review panels relevant to Chilean and international astronomy.