Susan Whitehead, an attorney with a long record of community service, was elected chair of the Whitehead Institute for Biomedical Research at the Institute's winter board meeting on February 8.
Ms. Whitehead's father, philanthropist Jack Whitehead, first began discussions in the early 1970s that led to the formation of the Whitehead Institute in 1982. At that time, Susan Whitehead was named a lifetime board member, along with her brothers John and Peter Whitehead.
Ms. Whitehead led the Whitehead Campaign for Discovery, its first major capital campaign, which concluded in September 1996, and has served as acting chair of the 16-member Whitehead board since 1997, following the death of Sen. Paul Tsongas, then chairman.
"Susan understands the practice and culture of basic science, as well as the challenges facing research institutions at the beginning of the 21st century," said Dr. Gerald R. Fink, Whitehead director. "This knowledge has been amplified by her service on the MIT Corporation and the Visiting Committee of the Department of Biology."
She is also on the Board of Visitors of the Duke University Medical Center; on the board of the Horizons Initiative, which runs a full-time child care center in Boston for homeless children and their families; and on the board of the Planned Parenthood League of Massachusetts, which she now chairs.
A version of this article appeared in MIT Tech Talk on February 24, 1999.