Farewell, Sam

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January 18, 2008

9:34 AM

__After more than 40 years of service, Sam Sadler to hang up his feathers__

The College announced Tuesday afternoon that Vice President for Student Affairs Sam Sadler will be retiring June 30, ending his 45-year career in Williamsburg as a student and administrator.
Sadler said his primary reason for retirement was his family.

p. “It is time for me to repay my wife and family with more of my time,” Sadler said in an e-mail to the Parents Committee. “They have not had as much of that as they deserved over the years. Truth be told, it is their sacrifice that has made what I do possible.”

p. Sadler said he had originally planned to leave last spring but refrained because of the Wren Cross controversy.

p. “I think that decision would have been badly misunderstood and misrepresented and I didn’t want that to happen,” Sadler said.
Sadler’s decision to retire is regrettably coupled with the announcement of his impending surgery next week at the Duke University Medical Center.

p. “My illness certainly played no part in my decision to retire,” he said. “After all, it was not even known when I made the decision.”
Sadler plans to return for the remainder of the semester after an expected eight-week recovery period.

p. Chancellor Professor of Government Clay Clemens will chair the committee to select the next vice president for student affairs, which will include student, faculty and alumni participants.

p. “There are a lot of talented people who will apply, but Sam — as everyone will agree — is an institution here,” Clemens said. “Finding someone to come in on his heels will be monumentally difficult.”

p. In an e-mail to students, alumni, faculty and staff, College President Gene Nichol said that Sadler will be remembered most for his extraordinary devotion to the College and its community. Few others have been as committed to the student body, actively listening to their thoughts and concerns, no matter how trivial or bizarre.

p. “There’s nothing that beats the energy, the freshness, the exuberance and the optimism of the talented young people that come to William and Mary,” Sadler said. “And I will sorely miss that.”

p. As an undergraduate, Sadler was involved in many activities including leading the cheerleading team, serving as the charter president of Alpha Phi Omega and singing in the William and Mary Choir. As an orientation aide to incoming freshmen, he even assisted one student named Timothy J. Sullivan, a future president of the College.

p. Sadler, whose real first name is William, met his wife, Mary Liz, at William and Mary. They married in the Wren Chapel in 1965.
Sadler returned to the College in 1967 as an assistant dean of admissions. His subsequent titles included dean of men and dean of student affairs. Since 1989, Sadler has served as the vice president for student affairs, a position responsible for the coordination of student life polices, programs and activities; student development; resident hall life; judicial affairs; and multicultural affairs.

p. “I think the exciting thing is that I’ve had a ring-side seat from my student days to the present, as William and Mary has emerged from being a good, small, regional and caring university into a place of national prominence,” Sadler said.

p. For the past two decades, Sadler has overseen almost every major event at the College, including opening convocation and commencement weekend. The events seem fitting as he has welcomed and parted with tens of thousands of students largely impacted by his management and guidance.

p. “We’re going to miss him,” said longtime friend and colleague, Professor David Aday. “I’m sure everyone will say this, but trying to remember this place without Sam Sadler is just very, very difficult.”

p. Sadler said that he would want to be remembered by students as someone who cared about them.

p. “If that happens then I feel that I will have been a very fortunate man,” he said. “When a place has been as much a part of your life as this place has been you know that it’s not easy to leave and I don’t think it will ever be gone from my system — it’s too much a part of who I am. So I am sure I will always try to be a part of William and Mary and serve it, though it will have to be in a different way at this point.”

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