Scalise Named Interim Dean

Athletic Director will fill in as executive dean of FAS until replacement is found

Athletic Director Robert L. Scalise will assume additional duties as Interim Executive Dean of the Faculty of Arts and Sciences (FAS) beginning in March, according to a statement circulated by FAS Dean Michael D. Smith on Wednesday.

While Scalise will continue to oversee the athletic department even after taking on his new duties in University Hall, he said he was not concerned about the prospect of holding down two jobs at once.

“I have a good team here in place in Athletics,” he said, “and I feel confident that they can help me streamline what I’m doing here as I learn what’s going on with the Faculty of Arts and Sciences.”

Scalise stressed that he would only be serving on an interim basis and had accepted the position only after asking that he not be considered for permanent appointment.

“I said I would help out as long as I came back to be athletic director,” Scalise said. “I still have things that I want to get done here in Athletics as far as the Allston planning. It’s really an exciting time to be here in Athletics.”

The current executive dean, Nancy L. Maull, informed Smith of her intention to step down in November, after 15 years of service.

The influence of the post, which involves overseeing what Smith called the “non-academic areas of strategic planning,” including finance and facilities, has increased in recent years. Maull was a constant presence in University Hall decision-making as the faculty’s top office has had four different occupants in the last three years.

In his e-mail announcing Scalise’s appointment, Smith cited the Athletic Director’s administrative experience.

The new responsibilities mark another leg in a decades-long professional journey during which Scalise has occupied a variety of positions all over the University.

An alumnus of Brown, Scalise received both All-American and All-Ivy honors in lacrosse and set the record for number of goals scored in a single game—11, as a senior in 1971. He came to Harvard in 1974 as the head coach of the men’s lacrosse team and the men’s freshman soccer team.

After a 13-year tour of duty in which he helped to start the women’s soccer program and brought Harvard its first Ivy League championship in lacrosse, Scalise moved on to other pursuits, earning an MBA from Harvard Business School in 1989.

After administrative stints at the Business School and a brief tenure at the consulting firm Bain Capital, Scalise was appointed Harvard’s Athletic Director, a position which he has held for the past half-decade.

Scalise also has family ties to Harvard: his wife, Maura Costin Scalise ’80 served as coach of the women’s swim team until 1997, and his son Michael J. Scalise ’10 is currently an undergraduate.

David A. Thomas, a senior associate dean and the director of faculty recruiting at the Business School, recalled Scalise’s skill as an administrator.

“Bob is probably without peer in the University in terms of understanding the educational mission of the institution and how to organize the staff and administrative functions to support that in a frictionless way,” Thomas said.

—Staff writer Christian B. Flow can be reached at