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James T. Amsler

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James T. Amsler Obituary
AMSLER, James T. A Chatham resident since 1987, died at 88 in Chatham. Born in Medford, Massachusetts, Dr. Amsler was a graduate of Fitchburg State College. He received his Ed .M from Harvard University and his Ed. D from Boston University. Dr. Amsler committed his life to education. He was President of the Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts from 1968 to 1979. He then became President of Salem Sate University from 1979 to 1988. He began his career as a junior high school teacher then became a professor, Chairman of the Department of Education, Dean of Admission, and then the Dean of Students at Salem State College. He worked in Boston as the Associate Director of MA State Colleges before moving into his first presidency at what was then called North Adams State College. He was committed to the idea that every student deserved an education of superior quality. He strongly argued for the concept of meritocracy. He believed that public higher education in Massachusetts should provide the same access to learning and opportunity that the elite private universities provide students. This guided his visions at both the colleges he presided over and under his leadership both institutions grew in stature and recognition. He also was a true public servant. He committed himself to different professional organizations including being a member of the National Collegiate Athletic Association Presidents Commission, Chairman of the AASCU Education for Careers Association, Massachusetts State Representative to the AASCU from 1980 to 1985, the MA Board of Education Higher Education Commission/1202 Commission and the American Council of Education as well as other state and national committees dedicated to the improvement of public higher education. He also believed that he should be involved in the community that each college served. He was, therefore, active in community organizations. To name a few, he was Chairman of the (6th) Congressional Selection Committee for Appointees to U.S. Academies and a member of Rotary, Peabody Museum Education Department and on the Board of Trustees of the House of Seven Gables, Essex Institute, as well as Salem Hospital. Dr. Amsler was in the armed forces in the U.S. Navy retiring as a captain. He was very proud of his military service and strongly believed it was in the military that he learned the leadership skills that he brought to his professional life. He was also an excellent athlete. As a young man he played for the Boston Red Sox Farm Team in Atlanta, Georgia. He won numerous tennis championships across the State and he had his own tennis teaching program on the PBS channel in Boston. He was married to Frances R. Vallely Amsler for 54 years. She died in 1998. He was also predeceased by his daughter Jane Amsler. Surviving are a son, James T. Amsler Jr.of Hyannis, and two daughters, Mary Amsler of San Francisco, California and Patricia Amsler of Freeland, Washington. He is also survived by five grandchildren. A Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated at 11:00 AM Saturday December 4th at the Holy Redeemer Catholic Church in Chatham Massachusetts. A reception at the church will follow the service. Burial will be in the Massachusetts National Cemetery in Bourne and is private. In lieu of flowers he requested memorial donations to: The Chatham Ecumenical Council for the Homeless, CECH, PO Box 81, West Chatham, MA 02669 or to Hospice and Palliative Care of Cape Cod, 765 Attucks Lane, Hyannis, MA 02601.

Published in The Boston Globe on Nov. 30, 2010
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