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Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution Elects New Corporation Members

Photo © Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution

May 20, 2021

The Board of Trustees of Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI) today announced the ten new corporation members who were elected at its Spring Joint Meeting of the Board and Corporation.

They are: Dr. Mark R. Abbott of Hollis, N.H.; Susan Payson Burke of Bedford, N.Y.; Beth Colt of Woods Hole, Mass.; Denise DeLorey of Yarmouth Port, Mass.; Dr. Michael K. Dorsey of Washington, D.C.; Brian Halligan of Boston; Dr. Hiroshi Kawahara of Fukuoka, Japan; Dr. Philip “Rusty” Warren of Falmouth, Mass.; Pratt N. Wiley of Boston; and Beth Anne Willett of Wellesley, Mass.

“We are honored to welcome this remarkable new group of Corporation Members and grateful for their commitment to WHOI’s mission,” said WHOI Corporation Chair Steven Hoch. “Their diverse experience, knowledge, and accomplishments enhance the excellence of an already strong slate of Corporation members.”

The new cohort of Corporation Members is one of the largest in WHOI history.

“Appointing high-level Corporation Members is an essential component of WHOI’s approach to volunteer leadership and outreach for our ocean, our planet, and our future,” said WHOI President and Director, Peter de Menocal. “I look forward to working with this talented new group to advance WHOI’s mission.”

WHOI Corporation Members are select leaders in the U.S. and abroad who are passionate about supporting solutions-based science and engineering, as well as education of the next generation of ocean leaders. Their role is one of advancement, ambassadorship, and advice.

About the New Corporation Members

Mark Abbott

Dr. Mark R. Abbott, Hollis, N.H.

Mark served as the tenth President and Director of the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI) from 2015 to 2020. Prior to joining WHOI, he was dean and professor in the College of Earth, Ocean, and Atmospheric Science at Oregon State University, and conducted research with the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, the Office of Naval Research, and the Scripps Institution of Oceanography. He has also advised the Office of Naval Research and the National Science Foundation (NSF) about advanced computer technology and oceanography, and served as a member of MEDEA, which advised the federal government on issues of national security and climate change. Mark also held a six-year term on the National Science Board, which oversees the NSF and provides scientific advice to the White House and to Congress. Mark is a member of the Board of Trustees for the Consortium for Ocean Leadership and for NEON, Inc. He was also president of The Oceanography Society from 2013 to 2014 and served on the Board of Trustees for the University Corporation for Atmospheric Research. His oceanographic research focuses primarily on upper ocean biological and physical processes.

Susan Burke

Susan Payson Burke, Bedford, N.Y.

Susan is an avid horticulturalist and has served as founding member and Vice President of the Hollister House Garden Board of Directors and a 30-year Board Member of the New York Botanical Garden, where she serves on committees including the Executive Committee and the Science Committee. She is a founding member of the Garden Conservancy, where she is on the Executive Committee and is chair of the Communication Committee. She is also a member of the Bedford Garden Club and the Nantucket Garden Club. Additionally, she has served on the board of and as former President of the Administrative Board of Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in New York City. She is a former Public Relations and Publicity Director for Bergdorf Goodman, Vice President of Calisch Associates, and Advertising Director at Frances Denny. Susan and her late husband, Coleman “Coley” P. Burke, have been long-time supporters of WHOI and other non-profits through their Coleman and Susan Burke Foundation, and WHOI was honored to have Coley serve as both a WHOI Trustee and Life Trustee.

Beth Colt

Beth Colt, Woods Hole, Mass.

Beth is a partner at JM Forbes & Co., a multi-family office based in Boston. Following her graduation from Harvard, Beth started her career in finance at Donaldson, Lufkin & Jenrette in mergers and acquisitions. After several years in finance, Beth transitioned to the business side of the entertainment industry in Los Angeles with leadership roles in independent film and television. In 2008, she launched a real estate investment company leading the re-development of Woods Hole Inn, The Treehouse Lodge, and Quicks Hole Taqueria & Tavern—all WHOI neighbors in Woods Hole. She currently serves as a trustee at Martha’s Vineyard Bank and Falmouth Academy.

Denise DeLorey

Denise DeLorey, Yarmouth Port, Mass.

Denise is a strategic marketing executive and the owner of Kalorama Strategies, LLC. She has worked with notable international firms in real estate development, legal, and architectural spheres. Her most recent professional experiences include serving as the first Chief Marketing Officer for Arent Fox LLP, working closely with all of their nationwide offices and in much of their global business. Previously, Denise was a Partner at Spaulding & Slye Colliers, where she oversaw the development of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) Dale and Betty Bumpers Vaccine Research Center, a new facility charged with developing the AIDS vaccine. In these roles, she has cultivated relationships with some of the country’s most prestigious corporations and institutions. Denise is also passionate about the environment, primarily from her work with the Urban Land Institute on the future of sea level rise. Her related concern about plastic contamination of our ocean is a driving force in her endeavors. She is a graduate of Wheaton College in Massachusetts.

Dr. Michael K. Dorsey

Dr. Michael K. Dorsey, Washington, DC

Michael is an award-winning and widely recognized expert on global energy, environment, finance and sustainability matters. He is a limited partner in the Spanish solar concern IberSun, s.l. and President of IberSun’s North American arm. In the for-profit arena, Michael is an active investor and co-founder and principal of Around the Corner Capital—an energy advisory and impact finance platform. In non-profit realms, he helped to co-create the northern California headquartered Center for Environmental Health and co-created the predecessor to the Sunrise Movement, which co-orchestrated launching the Green New Deal. He has served on several non-profit boards, including eleven years on the national board of the Sierra Club. In academia, he was a professor in the environmental studies program at Dartmouth College and has been guest faculty at numerous prestigious universities in the U. S. and overseas. His government work includes service as a member of the U.S. State Department Delegation to the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development—under President George H. W. Bush, the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD), and advisory roles for President Clinton and Senator Barack Obama and appointments to the EPA National Advisory Committee.

Brian Halligan

Brian Halligan, Boston, Mass.

Brian is co-founder and CEO of HubSpot, a CRM platform that is one of the largest public companies in Massachusetts. Prior to HubSpot, he was a Venture Partner at Longworth Ventures and VP of Sales at Groove Networks, which was acquired by Microsoft. Previously, Brian was a Senior VP of Sales at PTC. He has co-authored two books: “Inbound Marketing: Get Found Using Google, Social Media, and Blogs” with Dharmesh Shah, and “Marketing Lessons From The Grateful Dead” with David Meerman Scott and Bill Walton. He was named a Top-Rated CEO by Glassdoor (2014, 2015, 2017); was listed by Comparably as one of the Top 5 Best CEOs of a Large Company (2018, 2019, 2020), for Women (2018), and for Diversity (2018); and was named an Ernst & Young Entrepreneur Of the Year (2011) and one of Inc.’s Founders 40 Newly Public Companies Driving Innovation (2016). Brian is a senior lecturer at MIT’s Sloan School of Management where he teaches the course “Scaling Entrepreneurial Ventures.”

Dr. Hiroshi Kawahara

Dr. Hiroshi Kawahara, Fukuoka, Japan

Hiroshi served as a Boston Globe sponsored Summer Student Fellow in the WHOI Physical Oceanography Department in the summer of 1978. He then went on to graduate from the WHOI-MIT Joint Program with Sc.D. in oceanographic engineering (underwater acoustics) in 1984. He left the oceanography community to focus on a career in oil and gas exploration, however, his passion and academic roots are science and technology. At one point he served as the CTO of various SoftBank Group companies based in Japan. He then returned to academics in 2007 as a professor at SoftBank Group's Cyber University, which has been known as Japan's first online institution. Since 2012, he has been serving as president and then since 2018, also as CEO of Cyber University, a 100%-online university offering BAs in information technology, business administration and communication in the digital world.

Dr. Philip “Rusty” Warren

Dr. Philip “Rusty” Warren, Falmouth, Mass.

Rusty is the CEO and co-founder of ARMADA Marine Robotics, an underwater propulsion solution company that builds and sells autonomous underwater vehicle propulsion technology initially invented at WHOI. He has more than 30 years of business leadership experience in the federal government and with government contractors. He is a successful entrepreneur and adept at forming expert teams, growing high-tech enterprises, and building profitable businesses. He previously held numerous positions in the Boston area, including at Science Applications International Corporation; Geo-Centers, Inc; and the U.S. Army Natick Soldier Systems Center.

Pratt N. Wiley

Pratt Norton Wiley, Boston, Mass.

Pratt is a leader and strategic planner in fields ranging from law, politics, non-profit management, and business management. He is President and CEO of The Partnership, Inc., New England’s premier organization dedicated to enhancing the competitiveness of the region by attracting, developing, retaining, and convening multicultural professionals. During its 33-year history, The Partnership has collaborated with 500 corporations who have sponsored 4,668 executives and professionals in the organization’s innovative multicultural leadership development programming. Previously, Pratt served as the National Director of Voter Expansion for the Democratic National Committee and as the National Regional Voter Protection Coordinator for Obama for America. He was also a corporate attorney at Nutter, McClennen & Fish LLP in Boston, representing public- and private-sector clients in mergers and acquisitions, venture finance, and tax-exempt bond issuances. Other past positions include senior administrator at Lesley University, and sales and marketing executive at the international internet consulting group, Zentropy Partners. Pratt was elected as a Council member of the Boston Bar Association and a member of the Board of Directors of the Massachusetts Black Lawyers Association. He has also served numerous civic and charitable organizations supporting education and civic life throughout Massachusetts.

Beth Anne Willett

Beth Anne Willett, Wellesley, Mass.

Beth has actively pursued a passion for Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) for most of her life and career. After receiving a BS in Manufacturing Engineering from Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) and an MS in Industrial Engineering from UMass, Beth had a 10-year career in operations and manufacturing. She then turned her passion towards her family, public school community, and philanthropic activities including InReturn, an organization helping traumatic brain injury survivors return to work and life by progressing through a set of increasingly complex manufacturing tasks. She is currently involved with WPI’s Women’s Impact Network which awards funds that provide pathways to advance women at WPI. She has also served as the STEM Chair and Co-Chair of the Wellesley (Mass.) Education Foundation, where she worked to encourage young people to pursue science and math through participation in science expos, math enrichment activities, coding workshops, STEM career panels, and Mass STEM Week activities.

Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI) is a private, non-profit organization on Cape Cod, Massachusetts, dedicated to marine research, engineering, and higher education. Established in 1930, its mission is to understand the ocean and its interactions with the Earth as a whole, and to communicate an understanding of the ocean’s role in the changing global environment. WHOI’s pioneering discoveries stem from an ideal combination of science and engineering—one that has made it one of the most trusted and technically advanced leaders in fundamental and applied ocean research and exploration anywhere. WHOI is known for its multidisciplinary approach, superior ship operations, and unparalleled deep-sea robotics capabilities. We play a leading role in ocean observation, and operate the most extensive suite of ocean data-gathering platforms in the world. Top scientists, engineers, and students collaborate on more than 800 concurrent projects worldwide—both above and below the waves—pushing the boundaries of knowledge to inform people and policies for a healthier planet. For more information, please visit