Biographical Information

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Susan K. Avery, PhD
Susan Avery comes to WHOI from the University of Colorado at Boulder (UCB). Since August 2004, she has served in interim positions as vice chancellor for research and dean of the graduate school, as well as provost and executive vice chancellor for academic affairs at UCB. She has been a member of the university faculty since 1982, most recently holding the academic rank of professor of electrical and computer engineering.

Avery also holds an appointment at the Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Sciences (CIRES), of which she has been a fellow since 1982. From 1994-2004, she served as director of CIRES, the first woman and first engineer to hold that position.

As director of CIRES, Avery facilitated new interdisciplinary research efforts spanning the geosciences while bringing them together with social and biological sciences. She spearheaded a reorganization of the institute and helped establish a thriving K-12 outreach program and a Center for Science and Technology Policy Research—efforts to make CIRES research more applicable, understandable, and accessible to the public.

Avery’s research interests include studies of atmospheric circulation and precipitation, climate variability and water resources, and the development of new radar techniques and instruments for remote sensing. She is the author or co-author of more than 80 peer-reviewed articles and has directed the University of Colorado's Center for Limb Atmospheric Sounding. She also has a keen interest in scientific literacy and the role of science in public policy.

Avery helped form an integrated science and assessment program that examines the impacts of climate variability on water in the American West. She also worked with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and the Climate Change Science Program to help formulate a national strategic science plan for climate research. Recently she served on two National Research Council panels: One produced a decadal plan for earth science and applications from space, and the other provided strategic guidance for the atmospheric sciences at the National Science Foundation.

Avery is a fellow of both the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers and of the American Meteorological Society, for which she also served as president. She is chair of the Climate and Weather of the Sun-Earth System program; chair-elect for the Council on Research Policy and Graduate Education; chair of the science policy board for the Center for Sustainability of Semi-Arid Hydrology and Riparian Areas; and a member of the advisory board for the Jet Propulsion Laboratory. She is a past chair of the board of trustees of the University Corporation for Atmospheric Research.

Avery earned a bachelor's degree in physics from Michigan State University in 1972, a master's in physics from the University of Illinois in 1974, and a doctorate in atmospheric science from the University of Illinois in 1978.

Newton P.S. Merrill
Newt Merrill was elected chairman of the Board of Trustees of the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution in May 2007. He was first elected to the WHOI Corporation in 1993 and to Board of Trustees in 1997. He has served on the Investment Committee, the Coastal Ocean Institute Committee, the Campaign Committee, and the Executive Committee.

Merrill is a former senior executive vice president of The Bank of New York, from which he retired in 2004. He headed groups handling lending to large corporations, as well as leasing and investment banking activities. He briefly left to work as a senior executive vice president for the Bank of Boston, then returned to The Bank of New York

Merrill serves as chairman of the Museum of the City of New York and as a trustee with the Connecticut River Museum.

Born in Mt. Kisco, N.Y., Merrill attended Harvard College. He now lives in New York City and Lyme, Conn. Learn more about Newt Merrill >>

Thomas B. Wheeler
Since 2004, Tom Wheeler has served as chairman of the Corporation of the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution. He was elected a member of the WHOI Corporation in 1999 and a trustee in 2000. He served as chair of the Nominating Committee from 2001 to 2004.

He is the former chairman and chief executive officer of the Massachusetts Mutual Life Insurance Company and has been affiliated with the company for more than 30 years. He also served as a director of BankBoston Corporation.

Wheeler has been chairman of the Massachusetts Business Roundtable, Jobs for Massachusetts, and the Massachusetts State Olympic Committee. He is a trustee of the Basketball Hall of Fame and a director of the Conservancy of Southwest Florida, Textron, Inc., and EstateWorks.

Wheeler earned a bachelor's degree in American Studies from Yale University. He is a resident of Naples, Fla., and West Falmouth, Mass. Learn more about Tom Wheeler >>

James R. Luyten
Jim Luyten was appointed acting president and director of WHOI in June 2006. He was the institution's director of research from 1994-2006. He is a senior scientist in the Physical Oceanography Department, of which he served as chair from 1990-1994.

Luyten came to the Institution in 1968 as a summer fellow in geophysical fluid dynamics and later joined the staff as an assistant scientist in 1971. His areas of research include the observation and modeling of ocean currents, particularly the general circulation of the North Atlantic, the Gulf Stream, and equatorial current systems.

He earned his bachelor's degree in chemistry and physics from Reed College, a master’s degree in physics from Harvard University, and a doctorate in chemical physics from Harvard.

Learn more about Jim Luyten >>


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Last updated January 12, 2008
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