Ron Sasine received an international relations degree from the Kennedy Center in 1989 after serving a mission to Ecuador (1985–87). “I was very active in the student programs of both the center and the Political Science department and served as the founding president of BYU’s chapter of Sigma Iota Rho,” said Sasine. However, he did not contain all his international activities to campus. “I spent a summer as an intern at the State Department working in the public affairs bureau during Secretary of State George Shultz’s tenure. I originally planned a career in the foreign service and eventually passed both the written and oral exams, later I was disqualified on medical grounds. By that time, I had already begun to redirect my career path toward the private sector with some help from a very influential course I took from Professors Earl Fry (Canadian Studies coordinator) and Lee Radebaugh (of BYU’s Marriott School). At the end of my studies at BYU, I spent five weeks touring with the BYU Singers in the Middle East—Jordan, Israel, and Egypt,” Sasine reported.
As with many students of international studies, Sasine pursued his master’s degree. While attending the Paul H. Nitze School of Advanced International Studies at Johns Hopkins University in Washington, D.C. he “continued to work at the State Department, this time as an analyst on the Cuba desk. We first came to Brazil in 1990 when I accepted a temporary assignment with Westvaco Corporation, a U.S. packaging manufacturer with operations in Campinas. I completed my degree a year later and accepted a full-time position at Westvaco’s international headquarters in New York City. Two years later, we moved to Miami, where I continued to focus on Latin American markets, and in 1995, we returned to Brazil. I am now responsible for our marketing efforts here, as well as my continuing involvement in strategic development throughout the region,” Sasine remarked.
His professors played an important role in moulding this career path. “I can recall several professors who were very important during my Kennedy Center years. First, there was Ray Hillam, who made the world come alive to me and made me believe that I had a role to play. Stan Taylor helped me focus on how to play that role. Earl Fry, Valerie Hudson, Greg Peacock, and Scott Dunaway all shaped my learning in unique and special ways—some focused on the theoretical, while others focused on the practical aspects of foreign policy. I was clearly a child of the Cold War, and I can vividly remember trying to keep track of my throw weights, SALT’s, and MIRV’s for Valerie Hudson, while at the same time listening to Earl Fry’s explanations of what he foresaw as a coming wave in free trade zones,” Sasine elaborated.
“My education has been invaluable to me over the years, both for the academic background it provided and for the wider perspective it gave me from which to view world events. In my graduate program, I fared well compared to my colleagues from other, more prominent undergraduate institutions, and in my career my BYU background has been a continual source of interest on the part of those with whom I come in contact—both in the U.S. and abroad. I look back at BYU with fondness, and I constantly recognize the value of what I gained as a student of the Kennedy Center,” he affirmed.