“We’ll miss you” was a sentiment echoed numerous times during the College’s farewell event for former Dean Ali Eskandarian. University leadership, faculty and staff from around the university gathered on April 3, 2018, to send him off in style and wish him success with all things that follow his successful tenure with GW.
During the reception, four speakers offered reflections on his service to the university, including:
- Dr. Christopher J. Deering, Interim CPS Dean;
- Dr. Forrest Maltzman, Provost;
- Dr. Donald Lehman, Former EVPAA; and
- Dr. Michael Feuer, Dean of the GSEHD.
Chris Deering provided a look back at the multiple roles Eskandarian has played at the university and provided brief biographical information. Before Ali stepped down from academic leadership this winter, he served for nearly seven years as the dean of the College of Professional Studies (CPS) and concurrently as the dean of the GW Virginia Science & Technology Campus (VSTC).
He began his career at GW in 2002 as an associate dean and one of the founding members of the team that launched GW’s College of Professional Studies. Thereafter, he served as the senior associate dean for strategic initiatives and research at CPS where he led the design and development of several innovative certificates and master’s degree programs. He also has held faculty appointments as professor at CPS and in the Department of Physics.
Prior to coming to GW, he worked at James Madison University, the National Research Council and held several positions in private industry. His research interests include Theoretical Nuclear Physics, Astrophysics, and foundations of Quantum Theory and Quantum Information/ Computation. He holds a B.S. in Physics and a Ph.D. in theoretical nuclear physics, both from GW.
“I want to give you a short personal perspective on Ali as a friend, intellectual collaborator, and a person with philosophical understanding far beyond most people,” said one of the speakers, Don Lehman, the former executive vice president for academic affairs (EVPAA).
He first met Ali as a student in one of his physics classes after he came to study at GW from his native Iran. He spoke about his deep regard for Ali’s intellectual and leadership capabilities. He knew him first as an undergraduate student, later as a Ph.D. student whose dissertation was written under his guidance and finally as a colleague. He spoke highly of Ali’s achievements at GW and said “I don’t believe I need to summarize his contributions to the success and growth of CPS during his 16 years being associated thereto. Likewise, his leadership in the growth of VSTC is a terrific legacy to leave behind.” Lehman plans to continue collaborating with him on foundational topics in physics research.
Graduate School of Education and Human Development Dean Feuer sent him off with a bit of humor. He wrote a song in tribute to Ali to the tune of Hello Dolly (and with apologies to Louis Armstrong).
Well so long, Ali
This is tough, Ali,
It’s so sad for us to see you leave so soon;
We’re wondering how, Ali
We’ll manage now, Ali,
Without your grace, your charm, your way to fill a room.
We’ll watch you move, Ali,
And find your groove, Ali,
It’s so good to know you’re reaching higher heights;
So, don’t forget, Ali
We’ve got your back, Ali,
Please take care, be safe, and let us share in your future delights.
That’s it for now, Ali
Three verses are enough, Ali
We know everyone here wishes I would just sit down;
Before I go, Ali
One more thought, Ali,
You’ve made us all so proud to call you one of our own.
Deering ended the programmed part of the event with a toast to Ali. “We’re here to offer heartfelt thanks to Ali for his service as associate dean, senior associate dean, and dean of the College of Professional Studies – a period of about 15 years. During that time Ali took an organization facing real challenges on a variety of fronts and put it in a better place. And he hands off a school that is in excellent pedagogical, financial, and organizational health and that is making sustained and substantial contributions to the vitality and mission of the University as a whole,” he said and invited all to drink to Ali and wish him all the best with his future endeavors.
Read more in GW Today, “Ali Eskandarian Announces Resignation from Academic Leadership”