Goat's Head Award

Professor Helen Vassallo Receives lifetime Commitment Award
September 25, 2013

On Saturday, Sept. 28, during Homecoming, the WPI Alumni Association will present Professor Helen Vassallo ’82 with itsGoat’s Head Award for Lifetime Commitment to WPI as part of the Homecoming 2013 celebration.

This award, created in 2010, recognizes an individual for lifetime contributions to the WPI community-at-large and reflects the friendship, support, and overall responsiveness to needs and interests provided to students, parents, alumni, faculty, and staff over the years. This special award is presented only occasionally.

Recipients of the Goat’s Head Award, like the recipients of all Alumni Association awards, are selected by the group’s Citations Committee. This year the Alumni Association is thrilled to present Vassallo with this award as she joins an esteemed collection of past Goat’s Head Award recipients: Dean Emeritus Bill Grogan ’46, Bill Trask, and Father Peter Scanlon.

For many alumni, Vassallo stands as a pivotal influence on their undergraduate years, inspiring from afar as a role model for young people and guiding her students as a trusted advisor. She came to WPI in 1967 to teach molecular biology and has since built a reputation as one of the most dedicated teacher-scholars at the university. She is well known for her energy and creativity as well as her thoughtfulness and compassion. Vassallo inspires her students to imagine new and creative solutions to challenging problems and achieve beyond even their own expectations.

Among Helen Vassallo’s many WPI-related accolades

Received the Board of Trustees’ Award for Outstanding Teaching in 2003

Became the second woman to be named a full professor at WPI and the first woman to be elected Secretary of the Faculty, the highest faculty post at the university

Served as a member of the President’s Council for the Advancement of Women and Minorities, as chief justice of the Campus Hearing Board, and as chair of the Committee on the Status of Women

Served as head of the Management Department from 1989 to 1995; held the Harry G. Stoddard Professorship in Management from 1991 to 1996

Served many years as advisor of the WPI chapter of Phi Sigma Sigma sorority

Vassallo is the author of numerous articles, two books, and one monograph, and is the co-holder of two patents.


The award presentation will take place at 4:30 pm on Saturday, Sept. 28, in the Campus Center Odeum. As part of the award presentation representatives from the faculty, staff, student, and alumni communities will pay tribute to Vassallo.

If you would like to attend this special award presentation we kindly ask that you register in advance via the Homecoming online registration form which can be located by visiting wpi.edu/+homecoming and clicking on the “I’ll Be There” button.

Aubrey A. Valley