Thomas C. Werner ’67 received the 2022 Alumni Award, the School’s highest honor, at an All School ceremony held on May 6. Head of School Craig Bradley held a fireside chat where Werner talked about his time at Hotchkiss. He shared humorous stories about his passion for film and cinema, and related those stories to how the School prepared him for a successful career in the entertainment industry. A Q&A with Hotchkiss students and a luncheon followed the ceremony.
Werner is an award-winning television producer in the Television Academy Hall of Fame, and he currently serves as the chairman of Fenway Sports Group, which includes ownership of the Boston Red Sox, the Liverpool Football Club, and the Pittsburgh Penguins.
"I am honored by this recognition. I owe so much to the education Hotchkiss gave me, and I consider it the foundation for everything I achieved afterwards," Werner said upon learning of the award. After graduating from Hotchkiss, Werner received an A.B. from Harvard, where he began his career as a documentary filmmaker, including directing a film about Fenway Park. His award- winning films include an historic documentary about Shirley Chisholm, the first Black woman to run for President. Later, Werner joined ABC, where he developed a number of hits, including Mork and Mindy, Three’s Company, Taxi and Love Boat. He cast Robin Williams in Mork and Mindy, and provided opportunities to unknown actors such as Tom Hanks (Bosom Buddies) and Danny DeVito and Tony Danza (both in Taxi).
Following his career at ABC, Werner executive-produced more than 1,500 half-hours of primetime comedies, including Roseanne, 3rd Rock from the Sun, The Cosby Show and That '70s Show. Werner is currently producing The Conners, in its fourth season at ABC, and a spinoff of That ’70s Show, titled That ’90s Show, for Netflix.
A member of the Television Academy Hall of Fame, Werner received the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Producers Guild of America. His company, Carsey-Werner, has produced shows that have garnered 24 Emmy Awards, 11 People’s Choice Awards, 10 Golden Globes, and numerous other awards.
In 1998, he joined forces with Oprah Winfrey to launch Oxygen, a 24-hour cable channel. Most recently, he teamed up with Sara Gilbert to launch the production company sara+tom.
Werner's career in baseball dates back to 1990, when he became managing general partner of the San Diego Padres. There he introduced the concept of expanded playoffs and the wildcard format.
In 2002, he joined with John Henry to acquire the Boston Red Sox, the only bidders to make saving Fenway Park a cornerstone of their proposal. His infatuation with the Red Sox dates back to 1967, when he was a freshman at Harvard. The New York native was caught up in the team’s “Impossible Dream” journey to the World Series.
Under his tenure, the Red Sox have won four World Series. Aside from the team’s on-field success, it plays a meaningful role in the community. Werner was instrumental in establishing the Red Sox Foundation, which has become one of the largest team charities in Major League Baseball. He spearheaded the creation of Home Base, a partnership between the Red Sox Foundation and the Massachusetts General Hospital. Home Base operates the largest clinic in the country dealing with the treatment of the invisible wounds of war, including post-traumatic stress, and traumatic brain injury. They have provided life-saving interventions for more than 30,000 soldiers, veterans, and military families. This past March, Werner received the Secretary of Defense medal for Outstanding Public Service, from the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, General Mark Milley, at a ceremony at the Pentagon.
Werner followed his brother, Peter ’64, to Lakeville from St. Bernard’s School in New York. At Hotchkiss, Werner was involved in numerous extracurricular activities and participated in club soccer, hockey, and golf. Known for his excellent memory and sense of humor, he excelled academically. He was editor of The Record and member of the Press Club, and organized the Hotchkiss Film Society, serving as its first president. Along with several classmates, he produced his first film while at Hotchkiss.
Since 1931, the Hotchkiss Alumni Association has honored notable alumni with the Alumni Award. Selected by the nominating committee of the Board of Governors of the Alumni Association, recipients have brought honor and distinction to themselves and Hotchkiss through their achievements.
You can watch the recording of the ceremony, below: