Bill Hanson, LFM-SDM Co-Director, receives Sizer Award

Bill Hanson and Sanith WijesingheBill Hanson

LFM-SDM Co-Director receives Sizer Award

By Monica Nakamine
May 19, 2003

More than 30 awards were handed out to some of MIT’s most excellent students, faculty, and staff members at the 3rd Annual MIT Awards Convocation, which was held on May 13, 2003 at Huntington Hall. LFM-SDM Co-Director Bill Hanson was among them, receiving the Irwin Sizer Award for the Most Significant Improvement in MIT Education. Sanith Wijesinghe, the outgoing graduate student council president, presented Hanson with the honor after reading the following introduction to the audience:

Bill Hanson, left, receives the Irwin Sizer Award for Most Significant Improvement in MIT Education from Sanith Wijesinghe, outgoing graduate student council president at the Awards Convocation.

“This year’s Irwin Sizer Award for Most Significant Improvement in MIT Education goes to Bill Hanson, co-director of the Leaders for Manufacturing and System Design and Management programs.

“The LFM-SDM programs are built on a partnership between the School of Engineering, the School of Management, and Industry. Bill has been involved with the LFM-SDM programs for over 10 years now, first as an industry co-director while working at Digital Equipment Corporation and then as full-time co-director soon after his retirement.

“When asked about what drove his decision to be part of the LFM-SDM programs, Bill said that they served as a platform to continue his desire to ‘…make the world a better place for my children and now grandchildren; be innovative, challenge the status quo, and drive change; create jobs for others; and do something I feel passionate about.’

“Bill is recognized as the strategic thinker who helps to facilitate the continuous re-assessment of the LFM-SDM program through constructive dialogue with all the program stakeholders, including partner companies, students, and faculty. “Under Bill’s leadership, the program has increased students’ awareness of globalization and the impact thereof on political, financial, cultural, legal, security, and ethical issues. His mentorship, support, and active participation in a student-run seminar series on these topics is widely appreciated and applauded. As a testament to Bill’s commitment to his students, a nomination we received stated that, of the 104 students in the program, there is hardly anyone who does not see Bill regularly for mentorship. Global issues have also been more fully incorporated into the academic curriculum. In particular, 25 percent of the program internships this year are international and have provided students a hands-on opportunity to live and work in a different culture. Through support of such efforts Bill has been able to instill in his students a sense of community and service to the society-at-large. Such qualities truly enhance an MIT education by empowering students to lead change after leaving MIT. It is a model for us all.

“On behalf of the Graduate Student Council, it is our honor, Bill, to recognize you for the 2003 Irwin Sizer Award for Most Significant Contribution to MIT Education.”

The Irwin Sizer Award is presented to any member or group in the Institute community to honor significant innovations and improvements to MIT education. The award is named in honor of Irwin W. Sizer, dean of the graduate school from 1967-1975, who was a pioneer in molecular biology and responsible for many academic endeavors and programs that MIT currently administers. Sizer passed away in 2000.

“It has been my honor and privilege to have been associated with LFM and SDM since their inceptions,” said Hanson. “However, receiving the Sizer Award was a particularly defining moment for me because it was affirmation by the MIT community that LFM and SDM are truly innovative educational experiences that drive positive change. Thank you once again for making all this possible.”