Leadership in Training: Campus Community Welcomes ACE Fellow

September 16, 2015

Classical vocal artist and educator Aimé Sposato joins Mary Baldwin University as an American Council of Education (ACE) Fellow for the 2015–16 academic year.

Shenandoah University’s associate dean for undergraduate studies and professor of voice is one of 47 fellows nominated by their institution’s senior administration and selected this year following a rigorous application process. The ACE Fellows Program, established in 1965, is designed to strengthen institutions and leadership in American higher education by identifying and preparing emerging leaders for senior positions in college and university administration.

Mary Baldwin President Pamela Fox, who selected Sposato for the post, serves on the ACE board of directors. Sposato said that after a brief look at the Mary Baldwin website, and particularly, Fox’s archived speeches, she realized the potential a fellowship at Mary Baldwin would hold.

“I recognized that we shared similar values. It was immediately evident that Dr. Fox, a consummate pianist and music historian, remains deeply committed to the mission and long history of Mary Baldwin University,” Sposato said. “I could not ask for a better mentor as I continue to explore my own role as a future higher education leader.

“This is an exciting year to observe the senior leadership and faculty in action and to be in the midst of creativity as the entire Mary Baldwin community works together to transform the college into Mary Baldwin University,” Sposato said. “Although there may be challenging work ahead, the energy that can be felt on the campus as I speak with faculty and students is inspiring me to learn more about this community.”

ACE fellows embark on a rigorous year of training at their host institutions, home institutions, and participate in four, weeklong retreats in various cities across the country, Sposato said.

“We will explore relevant topics and trends in higher education, examine different types of institutional budgeting models, discuss strategies for working with dynamic boards of trustees, and most importantly, we analyze fund raising initiatives,” she said. “In addition to the work that we do at our home and host institutions, we will visit over 20 other campuses throughout the year to meet with the senior leadership as a means to examine their successes or ongoing challenges. It is perfect time to see the complex world of higher education through multiple lenses.”

In addition to maintaining an active role in arts education at the national level, Sposato performs in major concert halls throughout the world, including Carnegie Hall, the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, and the National Cathedral. Her operatic career includes more than 15 roles and prestigious recognitions in vocal competitions, and she has received international acclaim for her solo performances in Europe and Asia.

Sposato received a BA from the University of Pittsburgh, a master of music degree from Duquesne University, and a doctor of musical arts degree from West Virginia University. Sposato joined the Shenandoah Conservatory faculty in 1993 and was appointed the associate dean for undergraduate studies in 2006. Nominated by her peers, she received the Exemplary Teacher of the Year Award in 2011.

The soprano vocalist has also been employed as a recording artist with the Discovery, History, and Learning channels, and sings the national anthem for the Pittsburgh Steelers and Pirates and at NASCAR events.