SPRINGFIELD, Mass.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Massachusetts Mutual Life Insurance Company (MassMutual) today announced it has elected Dr. Bernard A. Harris, Jr., a renowned former astronaut, business leader, and philanthropist, to the company’s Board of Directors, effective February 1, 2022.
“From his impressive track record in managing the rigors of space exploration, to his expertise in developing and investing in transformative healthcare technology, Dr. Harris is a proven leader who brings a unique perspective to our Board of Directors,” said Roger Crandall, Chairman, President and CEO, MassMutual. “Dr. Harris’ appointment reflects our ongoing commitment to bring a broad, diverse range of experiences and backgrounds to our governance practices, and we look forward to his contributions to our Board.”
“As an organization that has adapted and thrived over the past 170 years, MassMutual is a company with bold aspirations for future growth, and I look forward to the opportunity to share my insights and strategic advice in support of the company’s purpose to help people secure their future and protect the ones they love,” said Dr. Harris.
A veteran astronaut for more than twenty years, Dr. Harris has logged more than 400 hours and traveled over seven million miles in space. He was a mission specialist on the space shuttle Columbia in 1993 and a payload commander on the space shuttle Discovery in 1995, becoming the first African American to walk in space. While at NASA, Dr. Harris conducted research in musculoskeletal physiology and clinical investigations of space adaptation and developed in-flight medical devices to extend astronaut stays in space.
Dr. Harris currently serves as CEO and Managing Partner of Vesalius Ventures, Inc., a venture capital firm that invests in early to mid-stage healthcare technologies and companies. He is responsible for managing a portfolio of private assets of early and mid-stage venture investments and operating companies.
In addition to his role as a new MassMutual Director, Dr. Harris is currently a member of the Board of Directors for Raytheon Technologies (NYSE: RTX), U.S. Physical Therapy (Nasdaq: USPH), and Monebo Technologies. He also serves as a Board of Director/ Trustee for Salient Midstream & MLP Fund and Salient MF Trust, and Barings Fund & BBDC. Additionally, he is on the non-profit Board of the Texas Medical Center, National Math and Science Initiative, and the Harris Institute & Foundation, which he founded in 1998.
Dr. Harris earned a Bachelor of Science in Biology from the University of Houston, a Master of Medical Science from the University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston, a Master of Business Administration (MBA) from the University of Houston, and a Doctor of Medicine from Texas Tech University School of Medicine. He completed a residency in internal medicine at the Mayo Clinic, a National Research Council Fellowship in endocrinology at the NASA Ames Research Center and trained as a Flight Surgeon at the Aerospace School of Medicine, Brooks Air Force Base.
Dr. Harris is the recipient of numerous honors and awards, including nine honorary doctorates, the NASA Space Flight Medal and the NASA Award of Merit. He is a fellow of the American College of Physicians and was the recipient of the 2000 Horatio Alger Award.
MassMutual is a leading mutual life insurance company that is run for the benefit of its members and participating policyowners. Founded in 1851, the company has been continually guided by one consistent purpose: we help people secure their future and protect the ones they love. With a focus on delivering long-term value, MassMutual offers a wide range of protection, accumulation, wealth management and retirement products and services. For more information, visit www.massmutual.com.