30th Annual MLK Celebration Leadership Award Recipient: Blanche E. Staton

Blanche E. Staton

Associate Dean, Office of Graduate Education, MIT

30th Annual MLK Leadership Award

Blanche E. Staton has been associate dean for graduate students since 1997.
Blanche E. Staton has been associate dean for graduate students since 1997.

Blanche E. Staton has been associate dean for graduate students since 1997. She initiated MIT's participation in the MentorNet program, which offers electronic mentoring for women students in engineering and science. Staton initiated an Institute-wide program to honor minority administrators, supported creation of the Women's Book Club as a community-building activity for women graduate students, and led development of a pilot leadership program for graduate students.

"Perhaps what students most appreciate is her ability to listen patiently and sympathetically and be a soothing and calming mentor even under difficult circumstances," said the four community members who nominated Staton, who also is president of the board of the Cambridge Community Center.

MIT150 Profiles

Mentor to Thousands
December 28, 2010

“I feel like I’m working with superheroes here because the students have so much passion and energy,” Blanche Staton says. “They make me feel good about coming to work.” Mentoring and nurturing graduate students is a favorite part of Blanche’s job as senior associate dean in the Office of the Dean for Graduate Education.

Blanche came to MIT in 1997 from Penn State University, where she directed recruitment and admissions for one of three regional undergraduate offices, and she previously worked in similar graduate-level positions at the University of Pennsylvania and the Temple University School of Medicine. At MIT she found “a community of colleagues who are warm and welcoming.” She had planned to stay for three years, but after 13 years at MIT she confirms, “It feels like the right place for me.”