The Journey to Chestertown: A Chat with Washington College’s 31st President Michael Sosulski

Perhaps one of the greatest challenges that faced Michael Sosulski after he finished his undergraduate work at Georgetown University was whether to become a jazz sax player or pursue an academic career in foreign languages. There was more to this…

The Journey to Chestertown: A Chat with Washington College's 31st President Michael Sosulski

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Perhaps one of the greatest challenges that faced Michael Sosulski after he finished his undergraduate work at Georgetown University was whether to become a jazz sax player or pursue an academic career in foreign languages.

There was more to this decision than wishful thinking on Michael’s part. As someone who had spent his junior year abroad, he was part of a jazz band that played professional gigs throughout southwest Germany. This was ample evidence he could provide his parents, who raised their family in the Western Suburbs of Chicago, that he had both the talent and the ambition to “make it” a career.

Their response was a thoughtful one. Rather than convince Mike to follow the more financially secure route into scholarship, they made the case that he should pursue a career in music by entering a well-respected conservatory. He felt this was a reasonable suggestion, and the following year he entered the highly regarded Berklee School of Music.

To make a long story short, Michael Sosulski failed brilliantly at Berklee. For many reasons, large and small, he realized that he was never intended to be a professional musician. And so, with the help of some generous scholarship support, he enrolled in the language graduate program at the University of Chicago, where he would earn both his master’s and a doctorate in Germanic Studies.

And it was at Chicago that Michael realized that his future in academics was to be in the small liberal arts college environment. While he was the product of much larger schools, he had come to conclude that the best form of higher education was when small communities of students and teachers could built a foundation of critical thinking and knowledge in a close, personal way.

From that point on, Dr. Sosulski has followed up on that intuition. Over the past two decades, he has served on the faculty of  small schools like Valparaiso University, Pacific Lutheran University, Kalamazoo College, and eventually Wofford College.

It was at Kalamazoo College that Sosulski first became interested in the administration of a college. As a department head there, he started to see how one could have a more significant impact on an institution’s mission which eventually led him to Wofford, where he began Provost in 2016.

All of this was done while supporting his wife, Dr. Corinne (Cori) Crane, in her own academic career, and the raising of two boys, who have both now graduated from college themselves.

In this introductory interview with President Sosulski, the Spy’s Dave Wheelan and Jim Dissette learn about his unique journey to Che

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