President Charles M. Vest has announced the appointment of Kathryn A. Willmore as vice president of MIT. Her new title is Vice President and Secretary of the Corporation.
Prior to this appointment, Ms. Willmore served concurrently as secretary of the Corporation, executive assistant to the president and director of public relations services.
In announcing the appointment, President Vest said, "Her new title speaks to the scope and Institute-wide importance of the duties she has assumed during the last four years, both in the President's Office and as one of four officers of the MIT Corporation. She is a member of the Academic Council, is the key interface between MIT's administration and our trustees, and is the person responsible for our relations and communications with internal and external constituencies."
In addition, he said, "she has both formal and informal responsibility for coordinating, scheduling, and integrating consideration of major issues among the senior leadership of the faculty, the administration, the staff and trustees of MIT."
As vice president and secretary of the Corporation, she will continue to have these responsibilities. President Vest announced the appointment on September 9, following a vote of approval by the Executive Committee of the Corporation at its September 4 meeting.
"I can think of no other MIT administrator who exceeds Kathryn Willmore in quiet and effective leadership, ability to draw out the excellent capabilities and contributions of our staff, integrate the work of our senior officers, build consensus and convert ideas to action," said President Vest in announcing the appointment.
"Ms. Willmore is unparalleled in her grasp of policy issues and their implications across the MIT community, and serves as my chief advisor in this regard... Beyond her formal staff and line management responsibilities, Kathryn has, in many ways, been the glue that has held our community together in times of stress. Her deep understanding of the duties and aspirations of MIT people at all levels, and in all reaches of the Institute, is invaluable to the smooth and effective operation of MIT."
As secretary of the Corporation, Ms. Willmore has overall responsibility for trustee relations and oversees the operations of the MIT board of trustees, including membership, quarterly meetings, standing committees and the activities of 27 visiting committees. She also serves as secretary of the Corporation's executive committee, and in this role manages the flow of issues and decisions between the administration and the trustees.
Ms. Willmore has overall management responsibility for the Communications Office; the Conference Services, Special Events and Information Center; the News Office; and the Publishing Services Bureau, and she works closely with Patrick K. Marx, special assistant to the president for communications. Mr. Marx, who joined the Institute last February, coordinates the Institute's strategic communications activities and last July assumed oversight of the News Office, directed by Kenneth D. Campbell.
Ms. Willmore joined the staff of MIT in 1965 after receiving the AB in religion from Mt. Holyoke College. Her early positions were in the Sloan School of Management and the Office of the President and with the Commission on MIT Education. In 1971 she joined the Analytical Studies and Planning Group in the Office of the President, conducting policy studies and providing staff support to senior faculty committees.
She added responsibility for managing the Campus Information Services in 1974, was appointed to the additional position of executive assistant to the president in 1981, and became director of Public Relations Services in 1986. She was elected secretary of the MIT Corporation in 1994.
In 1997, Ms. Willmore was elected to honorary membership in the Association of MIT Alumni/ae in recognition of her service to the Institute. Outside MIT, she serves as a director of the Cambridge Trust Co. and is active in women's culture and music.
A version of this article appeared in MIT Tech Talk on September 16, 1998.