The College of William and Mary announced in an Oct. 12 press release that Virginia Institute of Marine Science Dean and Director John T. Wells will retire effective June 30, 2021. Wells has been in his position at VIMS since 2004.
During his 17 years at VIMS, the press release, authored by VIMS writer David Malmquist said Wells made progress towards a more sustainable Chesapeake Bay while overseeing the expansion of research programs and educational infrastructure. Before arriving at VIMS, Wells was a marine geologist at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill and Louisiana State University, where he received his Ph.D. in marine sciences. Wells also served for 15 years as editor-in-chief of Marine Geology.
“John has led VIMS to new heights with wisdom and creativity,” College President Katherine Rowe said in the press release. “He did so, during a tenure marked by major challenges and exciting opportunities. The financial collapse of 2008 and the current pandemic, but also the rapid transformation of marine sciences and research.”
The College emphasized Wells’ dedication to the Hampton Roads coastal area and his role in advising infrastructure projects and restorations in and around the Chesapeake Bay. At VIMS, he supported efforts to expand the institute’s physical resources, including a number of research facilities and a 93-foot research vessel.
“Wells’ legacy includes building a financial and research foundation with sufficient resiliency to meet future challenges,” Malmquist said in the press release. “As part of W&M’s $1 billion For the Bold campaign, VIMS set a goal to raise $15 million by 2020. The institute surpassed that goal in 2015, and thanks to 6,100 generous donors, achieved unprecedented success, raising $26.5 million when the campaign ended earlier this year.”
College Provost Peggy Agouris will meet with VIMS leadership this week to launch a nationwide search for Wells’ replacement.