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Harvard Business School veteran will serve on Florida Poly board

Earl Sasser brings nearly 50 years of academia experience to the board.

A nearly 50-year Harvard veteran is joining Florida Polytechnic’s Board of Trustees, the school announced Friday.

The Board appointed Earl Sasser, a Harvard Business School professor emeritus. Sasser taught at Harvard from 1969 until his retirement in 2017.

“This is still a young university and being a member of the Board of Trustees gives me the opportunity to have an impact,” Sasser said. “If this venture turns out the way I think it will, Florida Poly will be a real asset not only for Central Florida, but for the entire state.”

Sasser held several leadership roles within Harvard Business School. He was chair of the MBA Program from 1988 to 1991, faculty chair of the Advanced Management Executive Education Program from 1992 to 1995, senior associate dean of executive education from 1995 to 2000 and chair of the Board of Harvard Business School Interactive from 2000 to 2003.

“I’ve been part of the decision-making process at Harvard and I’ve seen what the issues are, mainly in terms of students and faculty,” Sasser said. “As a trustee I’ll be able to transfer some of those insights as we make decisions to make Florida Poly better. I bring a perspective that others on the Board might not have.”

Sasser, who now lives in Winter Park, Florida, is no stranger to Florida Poly. In 2018, he helped develop an executive leadership course at the University designed to help managers expand their leadership skills and innovative thinking.

Still, Sasser said he still has plenty to learn.

“I have to learn more about being in a public institution because I come from a private one and I know that things operate differently when you’re talking about a state university,” he said.

Sasser will serve on Florida Poly’s Board of Trustees until the term expires on July 15, 2024.

“Dr. Sasser is a distinguished academic and professor at Harvard and we are excited and honored to welcome him to our Board of Trustees,” Florida Poly President Randy Avent said.  “I’m looking forward to his remarkable expertise as we continue to build the academic curriculums and reputation that make Florida Poly the best STEM institution it can be.”


Janelle Irwin Taylor has been a professional journalist covering local news and politics in the Tampa Bay area since 2003. Most recently, Janelle reported for the Tampa Bay Business Journal. She formerly served as the sole staff reporter for WMNF News and previously covered news for and various local neighborhood newsletters. Her work has been featured in the New York Daily News, Free Speech Radio News and Florida Public Radio and she's been interviewed by radio stations across the nation for her coverage of the 2012 Republican National Convention. Janelle is a die-hard news junkie who isn't afraid to take on big names in local politics, including Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn, the dirty business of trash and recycling in St. Pete and contentious issues surrounding transit. Her work as a reporter and radio host has earned her two WMNF awards including News Volunteer of the Year and Public Affairs Volunteer of the Year. Janelle is also a devoted wife and mother to three brilliant and beautiful daughters who are a constant source of inspiration and occasional blogging fodder.

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