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New Chair of the Corporation Elected at WHOI

May 14, 2004

Thomas B. Wheeler, former Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of the Massachusetts Mutual Life Insurance Company, has been elected Chairman of the Corporation of the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI).  

Wheeler was elected at the Corporation’s spring meeting May 14 in Woods Hole. He succeeds James M. Clark, who served as Chairman for 13 years.  

“Tom Wheeler’s commitment to the Oceanographic Institution has been evident from his first involvement,” said WHOI President and Director Robert Gagosian. “He has demonstrated his dedication to our mission and interest in preserving the Institution’s best qualities while helping us build for the future.   Tom has extensive non-profit board experience, including service as Chairman of the Board of Trustees of Springfield College, as well as years of experience in the business community.”

As Chairman of the Board, Wheeler will preside at all meetings of the Members of the Corporation, advise the Board of Trustees, and oversee the business of the Corporation, which as a legal entity is similar to shareholders of a profit-making business.   There are 120 elected Members of the Corporation, which meets in Woods Hole in May and October each year.

A resident of Naples, Florida and West Falmouth, MA, Tom Wheeler brings extensive business experience to his new role.   Prior to his position as Chairman and CEO of Massachusetts Mutual Life Insurance Company, he served as Director of BankBoston Corporation and was Chairman of the Massachusetts Business Roundtable, Jobs for Massachusetts, and the Massachusetts State Olympic Committee.  

Wheeler is a trustee of the Basketball Hall of Fame and a director of the Conservancy of Southwest Florida, Textron, Inc. and EstateWorks.   He received a bachelor’s degree in American studies from Yale University in 1958, and was affiliated with Massachusetts Mutual Life Insurance Company for more than 30 years. He was elected a Member of the Corporation at WHOI in 1999 and a trustee in 2000, and served as Chair of the Nominating Committee from 2001 to 2004.

James Clark will remain active at WHOI as an Honorary Trustee and Member of the Corporation, and will continue to serve on the Executive Committee.    In thanking Clark for his leadership, Gagosian noted the Clark family’s long affiliation with the Institution dating back more than 50 years, and Jim Clark’s personal commitment to WHOI for the past three decades.  

“He has set an exemplary standard of dedicated stewardship,” Gagosian said.    “He has provided wise counsel on many issues, always fostering the Institution’s quest for research and academic excellence in advancing our understanding of how the oceans work.”

WHOI is a private, independent marine research and engineering, and higher education organization located in Falmouth, MA. Its primary mission is to understand the oceans and their interaction with the Earth as a whole, and to communicate a basic understanding of the ocean’s role in the changing global environment. Established in 1930 on a recommendation from the National Academy of Sciences, the Institution is organized into five departments, interdisciplinary institutes and a marine policy center, and conducts a joint graduate education program with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.