Peter Willmott Named as the Clark’s New President

For Immediate Release

August 15, 2005

At a meeting of the Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute’s board of trustees recently, Peter S. Willmott was named president. Willmott succeeds Francis Oakley, who served the Clark faithfully in that role for the past seven years.

Willmott, of Chicago, IL, and Williamstown, is an American businessman. He was previously president and chief executive officer of Fleming Companies, Inc., Zenith, Inc. and Carson, Pirie, Scott, as well as president and chief operating officer of the Federal Express Corporation. He is currently on the board of Fedex. He also serves on the boards of the Associated Colleges of Illinois and the Children’s Memorial Medical Center, where he is chairman. He became a member of the Clark Board of Trustees in 1999. Willmott graduated from Williams College in 1959 and Harvard Business School in 1961. He served as chair of the Executive Committee of the Williams College Board of Trustees from 1988 to 1998. He and his wife Michele own a home in Williamstown and have three children.

As president, Willmott plans “to continue the great momentum that this wonderful institution has right now."

Oakley, of Williamstown, has served as president for the past seven of his 20 years on the Clark board. During his tenure he oversaw the planning for the first major expansion of the Institute’s facilities in over 30 years. Under Oakley’s leadership, the Clark’s Research and Academic Program has also experienced significant expansion and international success. The Clark Fellows Program began as an experimental endeavor in 1998. The program now hosts 18-20 residential scholars each year.

Oakley was the Edward Dorr Griffin Professor of the History of Ideas at Williams College and was president of Williams College from 1985 to 1994. He is a fellow of the American Academy for the Arts and Sciences and of the Medieval Academy of America, where he served as president of the fellows from 1999 to 2002. He serves on the editorial board of the Journal of the History of Ideas, and from 1999 to 2000, he was the Sir Isaiah Berlin Visiting Professor of the History of Ideas at Oxford University. He was chairman of the board of the American Council of Learned Societies from 1993 to 1997 and served as its president from 2002 to 2003. He is currently chairman of the board of the National Humanities Center in North Carolina. Oakley, a scholar of medieval and early modern intellectual and religious history, is the author of numerous books and articles.

The Clark is located at 225 South Street in Williamstown, Massachusetts. The galleries are open daily from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. in July and August (closed Mondays September through June). Admission June 1 through October 31 is $10 for adults, free for children 18 and under, members, and students with valid ID. Admission is free November through May. For more information, call 413-458-2303 or visit


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