Former Overseer, HAA Head Cabot Dies at 98

Thomas D. Cabot '16, a former member of the Board of Overseers and former director of the Harvard Alumni Association, died on Thursday, June 8, Commencement Day, at his home in Weston, Massachusetts.

"I have never known another alumnus who was more fully and effectively involved in so many different parts of the life of an institution," President Neil L. Rudenstine said at Cabot's memorial service.

"Tom Cabot always sought to create more value than he found, and he always found more value than most of us have the wit to perceive," he said.

Cabot, who was 98 at the time of his death, was a winner of the Harvard Medal and was awarded an honorary Doctor of Laws degree in 1970.

Cabot House, formerly South House, was named in honor of Cabot and his wife, Virginia W. Cabot. The Cabot Science Complex is also named for the couple.


"For the past eight decades, Harvard has been blessed by a continuous and close relationship with Tom," Jeremy R. Knowles, dean of the Faculty, said. "He advised and supported us, he challenged and questioned us."

"Personally, I am bereft, and institutionally we are diminished, by the passing of such a devoted Harvard friend," Knowles added.

The Cabots were also generous financial supporters of Harvard. The Cabots endowed a dozen Harvard chairs and gave millions of dollars in gifts and trusts to the University.

Cabot was also a trustee of Radcliffe College for more than 30 years. He said he wanted "to see women take a greater leadership role."

Radcliffe President Linda S. Wilson said that Radcliffe has lost a "strong ally and trusted advisor" in Cabot."

"Tom Cabot has brought sagacity and strength,broad understanding, and common sense to theBoard," Wilson said. "He continued providingkindness, encouragement, and wisdom throughout hislong and vigorous life."

Cabot had an active life outside of his Harvardinvolvements as well.

Cabot was a flying instructor with the ArmySignal Corps during World War I. After graduating,Cabot went to work for the family business, CabotCorp., and built it into a multinationalcorporation now worth well over a billion dollars.

Under President Truman, Cabot was the Directorof International Security Affairs in the StateDepartment. In 1953, he came back to the StateDepartment to advise the Egyptian government oneconomic development.

Cabot loved the outdoors. He hiked, boated,canoed, skied and rode horses. He co-authoredoutdoor guides, and wrote his autobiography,Beggar on Horseback, which was published in1979.

Cabot is survived by his wife, five children,29 grandchildren and 23 great grandchildren