“Through your hard work, the China Management Education Project has defined what an MBA should be in China,” newly inaugurated MIT President Susan Hockfield told Senior Associate Dean Alan White. “What is most remarkable is that you have taken on these challenges in addition to your demanding day job. Your work — marked by skill, grace, and a rock-solid steadiness — exemplifies the contributions outstanding administrators make to the Institute.”
The occasion for President Hockfield's praise was the presentation of the Gordon Y Billard Award at the 2005 MIT Awards Convocation. The annual honor is bestowed on an individual working inside or outside MIT who has performed “special service of outstanding merit” for the Institute. Dean White shares the 2005 prize with Sheila Kanode, assistant dean of Engineering.
A 1971 graduate and former director of the MIT Sloan Fellows Program and a one-time regional director for the Peace Corps in the Philippines, Dean White is one of the Institute's foremost authorities on global issues. He is a consultant to multinational corporations like British Petroleum and Citicorp and serves on the boards of companies from France (StartupAvenue.com) to Japan (Japan Management Institute). He also leads MIT Sloan programs in Asia, Europe, Latin America, and Africa.
In fact, Dean White's passion is sharing MIT Sloan knowledge with the faculty of institutions in developing nations, and it is principally for these contributions that he has been honored with the Billard Award.
One of the centerpieces of his international work has been his leadership of the China Management Education Project. The program, launched in 1996, brings Chinese faculty to MIT Sloan to work with faculty and take classes with MBA students. Visiting professors then return to their home universities and incorporate this new knowledge into their curriculums.
“This very successful and important program would never have happened without your leadership and dedication,” President Hockfield told Dean White. “You worked with MIT faculty members to identify university partners in China and to mentor International Faculty Fellows at MIT. You have also raised funds and helped develop the key elements of the program. Since the program began in 1996, you have earned the respect of alumni, top managers, and government officials on both sides of the Pacific.”
Asked how he felt about this unexpected honor, Dean White recalled the recent funeral of a friend. “I remember thinking it was a great shame he hadn't heard the things that people were saying about him while he was still alive. At the convocation, I thought about that moment and realized just how lucky I was to be getting this sort of tribute while I'm still here to hear it.”