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I am writing to let you know of our upcoming move from St Louis, MO to Cambridge, MA.
My wife, Mary Sansalone, has just accepted appointment as Provost and Chief Academic Officer of the Asian University for Women (AUW), located in Chittagong, Bangladesh, on the Bay of Bengal. (In academic parlance I am now what is known as a "trailing spouse" -- that is, one-half of an academic family in which the other half is the distinguished person who gets the best job, while the spouse trails along.)
You can read about the AUW on the Internet at http://www.asian-university.org . It was created by a group of people in Cambridge, MA, with close ties to Harvard. The principal founder, Kamal Ahmad, is a Bangladeshi/American who came to the US as a young man, was educated at Harvard, and became a successful international lawyer. The AUW is his way of giving something back to his home country. It has a wonderful vision, and will make important contributions to the social and economic welfare of developing countries in east and southeast Asia. It has been clearly demonstrated that educating women accelerates the progress of developing countries and improves their quality of life.
Mary's appointment allows her to divide her time between Cambridge, MA (raising money, creating partnerships with US universities and other organizations, hiring faculty, creating a curriculum, developing a long-range strategic plan, etc) and Chittagong, Bangladesh (making teaching assignments, hiring staff, overseeing daily operations, creating standards, recruiting students, etc.) The AUW is recruiting students from 20 or more countries, mostly on scholarships, and had 14,000 applications for the first few hundred openings. This is just the kind of challenge Mary enjoys, and is very good at.
I had modest success as an academic, but she is far smarter, more successful, and better qualified for academic leadership than I am (or was). I am fully retired, but living a vicarious academic life through her remarkable success.
We have signed contracts to sell our house in St Louis and buy another in Cambridge, MA, and will be moving later this month. Mary will go to Bangladesh in July, and will spend several periods of 1 - 2 months there each year, and the balance in Cambridge. On the advice of my doctors I will spend most of my time in Cambridge.
I decided early in my professional life that I wanted an academic career, and General John Jannarone, the former Dean of the Academic Board at West Point, became my mentor, enabling me to spend most of my 23-year active duty career on the faculty at West Point. Following my retirement in 1978 I spent 17 years on the faculty at Cornell University, including 9 years as Dean of the College of Engineering. My education at West Point and at the U. of Michigan, and the two years I spent at Oxford University on fellowships, have served me extraordinarily well throughout my life and career.
I was very sorry to miss our 55th reunion at West Point in May. I had hernia surgery early in May, and was unable to travel for several weeks. I hope all is well with all of you and your families. My e-mail address should remain the same, so please get in touch if your travels take you to the Boston area. Our house in Cambridge is a large Mansard Victorian, built in 1876 (a "Charles Adams" house) near the Porter Square stop on the Red Line of the Boston subway (the "T"). It was owned by Elana Kagan, the latest Supreme Court nominee, when she was Dean of the Harvard Law School. It can be reached by subway (or taxi) from the Boston Airport. We will be settled there by mid-July, and will have plenty of room. Please come see us in Cambridge. We don't yet have a Cambridge phone number, but my cell phone number, 314-809-0265, will remain active for a while.
With best regards,
8 June 2010
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Former Cornell University Vice Provost and Professor Named Provost &
CHITTAGONG, Bangladesh, June 16 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ --The Asian University for Women (www.asian-university.org http://www.asian-university.org ) has appointed American engineering professor Dr. Mary J. Sansalone as its Provost & Chief Academic Officer, effective July 1, 2010. Dr. Sansalone, 51, was one of the first female professors to earn both tenure and the rank as professor as a member of the engineering faculty at Cornell University where she later served as Vice Provost of academic programs. Following her career at Cornell University (1987-2006), she served as Dean of Engineering & Applied Sciences at Washington University. She studied literature and engineering at the University of Cincinnati from which she graduated /summa cum laude/. She went on to pursue graduate study at Cornell where she earned a Masters and a PhD in Structural Engineering. Prior to turning to academic administration at Cornell, she spent a year at the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University, obtaining a Masters in Public Administration. Recognized as both a scholar and an outstanding teacher, in 1992 Dr. Sansalone was named "U.S. National Professor of the Year" by the Council for Advancement and Support of Education and the Carnegie Foundation.
Chief Academic Officer at Asian University for Women (AUW)
In announcing the appointment, Mr. Jack R. Meyer, the Chairman of the Board of the Asian University for Women Support Foundation commented that "AUW is indeed fortunate to have attracted a truly outstanding academic and academic administrator to this key position in this critical time in the development of our young institution. As Provost and Chief Academic Officer, Mary Sansalone will direct academic program development at all levels at the University as well as help recruit the best faculty we can find to teach at our University. She brings to AUW deep knowledge of the academia from some of the most outstanding institutions of higher education anywhere. We look forward to working with Mary in turning AUW into truly a center of excellence for the education of women."
The appointment of Dr. Sansalone follows a year-long search by a committee chaired by Professor Henry Rosovsky of Harvard University and Ms. Ritu Banga of the Board of the AUW Support Foundation. The other members of the Search Committee were: Kamal Ahmad, founder and Acting Vice-Chancellor of AUW; Professor Dipak Jain, former Dean of the Kellogg School of Business at Northwestern University; Ms. Janet Montag from the AUW Support Foundation Board; and Professor Richard Saller, Dean of the Faculty of Humanities & Sciences at Stanford University.
Members of the Search Committee offered their praise for Dr. Sansalone's appointment. Professor Henry Rosovsky commented, "Dr. Sansalone has worked in universities for her entire life, much as I have. Her experiences as a professor, researcher, and academic administrator have prepared her well to play a leading role in this extraordinary venture. We are very lucky to be able to attract a person of this caliber." Professor Richard Saller echoed Mr. Rosovsky's sentiments. "Mary Sansalone brings to the position of Chief Academic Officer of AUW both the experience of higher education at some of the best universities in the world and a passion for the cause of education of women from under-served areas. I am confident that she will work hard to make the AUW graduates into the sort of leader that she is. We are fortunate to have her."
Don Randel, currently the President of the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation and the former Provost of Cornell University and President of the University of Chicago, spoke of Dr. Sansalone's strong record of achievement at Cornell. "Mary Sansalone has the engineer's gift for solving hard problems in a systematic way and the great teacher's deep concern for the academic success and personal well-being of her students. Her leadership in advancing personally the cause of individual women in science and engineering has been truly exceptional."
SOURCE Asian University for Women
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How I got my appointment to West Point
In 1947, when I was 15 years old and a junior in high school in Little Rock, AR, the commander of the local National Guard unit, Captain Grady L. Brown, a WWII veteran, came to my high school to recruit new members for his company (HQ & HQ Co, 153rd Infantry Regt, 39th Division (Arkansas/Louisiana National Guard). He clearly knew I was under age, but at that point the NG was desperate for recruits, and accepted almost anyone. I attended 2-hr meetings every two weeks throughout the year and 2-week summer camps at Fort Polk, LA. In those days NG members were paid a day's pay for each meeting and full pay for the 2-week summer camps.
In 1950 my company commander took me aside and strongly encouraged me to take a competitive Civil Service Exam for entry into West Point, as there were a number of appointments allocated to the National Guard and Regular Army in those days. By that time I was in my second year at Little Rock Junior College, and was doing reasonably well in my studies. However, my family did not have the resources to send me away for my last two years of college, and there was no decent 4-year college in Little Rock at that time. I had never thought about a military career, but a quick look at the USMA curriculum convinced me that West Point would provide an excellent education, and the price was right.
I took copies of the West Point entrance requirements to several doctors, and asked them if I could pass the physical exams. They all said "no problem" except for the eye doctor who told me I would never pass the eye exam. I was nearsighted, but had never worn glasses. I went to the local library and checked out a book entitled "Sight Without Glasses" that prescribed "eye exercises" and described a method for eye relaxation that worked well for me. By placing the palms of my hands over my eyes and concentrating on total relaxation, I could read 20/20 for a short period of time. In the course of my reading about sight problems I found and memorized the 20/20 lines on the standard eye charts of that day (there were only a few). During my physical exam at a large government hospital in Hot Springs, AR I did my best to relax my eyes between stations. When I got to the eye exam I could barely make out one or two letters on the 20/20 line, which I recognized as "DEFPOTEC" (the 20/20 line on many eye charts today.) I rattled that off quickly, the Dr. said "OK", and I knew I had bluffed my way through. (For a similar story, see Al Raymondís "How I Got There" statement.) After passing the physical and doing well on the academic aptitude test, I received a letter from USMA stating that I was, "fully qualified and entitled to admission" in the summer of 1951. I got my first pair of glasses in the second semester of our plebe year.
When we were sworn on the Plain in July 1951, I had almost four years of National Guard service, which counted full time for pay purposes following graduation, and eventually toward my retirement. My snap decision to join the National Guard at age 15 turned out to be the most important defining moment in my early life, as my West Point experience and education enabled me to have a wonderful life and career.
29 July 2010