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Retired MIT Vice President John Wynne dies at 81 in the Dominican Republic

John Wynne
John Wynne

CAMBRIDGE, Mass. -- John M. Wynne, who served as a vice president of MIT under Presidents Howard W. Johnson and Jerome B. Wiesner from 1967 to 1980, died of Parkinson's disease on Tuesday (March 26) at his winter home in Casa de Campo resort, La Romana, the Dominican Republic.

Wynne, 81, who was also a resident of Magnolia, Mass., received the S.M. in industrial management from MIT as a Sloan Fellow in 1956 and returned as director of the executive development programs at the School of Management in 1958. He was an associate dean at Sloan from 1961 to 1967, when he was named vice president, organization systems. He served as vice president, administration and personnel, from 1970 to 1980, when he retired.

"John Wynne's exceptional accomplishments during his years at MIT were marked by his quiet professionalism, a deep loyalty to the Institute and his colleagues, and a gentle sense of fairness in his relations with others," President Emeritus Johnson said. "With it all, he had a great sense of humor and a steady unflappability under stress. He will be deeply missed."

After retirement, Mr. Wynne continued to be active at MIT and in higher education. He consulted on redrafting MIT's Policies and Procedures Manual and other matters while holding the title vice president emeritus. He was appointed to the board of trustees of Maharishi University of Management (MUM) in Fairfield, Iowa, in 1983 and with his son Robert, MUM's vice president of expansion, contributed to the development of the institution's M.B.A. and Ph.D. programs in management.

In 1987, he traveled to India to celebrate the 25th anniversary of the Indian Institute of Management in Calcutta and was honored as the founding director of the post-graduate diploma in management program. In 1993 he was appointed to the Board of Trustees of Maharishi Institute of Management in India which, in collaboration with MUM in Iowa, offers an M.B.A. program in five Indian cities. Wynne attended his last trustees meeting in June in Iowa at which his photographs from Calcutta, Darjeeling, Kashmir and Nepal were presented in an exhibition titled "Portraits of India."

Born in Salina, Kan., on June 14, 1920, Wynne earned the A.B. in political science in 1940 from the University of Kansas and was elected to Phi Beta Kappa. His graduate studies at Stanford were interrupted by World War II, during which he served as a lieutenant in the U.S. Navy on destroyers in the Atlantic Fleet and aboard the aircraft carrier U.S.S. Intrepid. He was a major in the U.S. Air Force in 1951-52 during the Korean War. Wynne worked for the Air Force as a civilian in Sacramento, Calif., and lectured in industrial management at Sacramento State College.

Wynne was a member of The Country Club in Chestnut Hill, Mass., and the Essex Country Club in Manchester by the Sea, Mass.

He is survived by his wife, Helen (Gurley), of Magnolia and Casa de Campo; two sons, Robert G. of Maharishi Vedic City, Iowa, and John Jr. of Boston; two sisters, Dorothy Zimmerman and Gwen Tilley, both of Lincoln, Neb.; a brother, Robert B. of Boston; a daughter-in-law, Maureen of Maharishi Vedic City; and a brother-in-law, Don Tilley of Lincoln.

Donations in his memory may be made to the John M. Wynne Education Fund (which supports education for Dominican children), 18 Ocean Highlands, Magnolia, Mass. 01930. A memorial service will be scheduled at MIT.

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