Ambassador Alan D. Solomont, Dean Emeritus
Alan D. Solomont, A70, A08P, former U.S. Ambassador to Spain and Andorra and a lifelong social and political activist, was the Dean of Tisch College from 2014-2021. He now serves as Dean Emeritus.
From January 2010 until July 2013, Solomont was the United States Ambassador to Spain and Andorra. As President Obama’s representative, Ambassador Solomont helped to strengthen Spain’s cooperation with the United States on matters of economic and global security. He was a tireless advocate for American companies doing business in Spain, and he supported investment by Spanish companies in the United States. He and his wife Susan also promoted the values of volunteering and citizen service throughout Spain. Today, Solomont chairs the Spain-U.S. Chamber of Commerce, whose mission is to promote trade and investment between the U.S. and Spain, and he is a board member of the U.S.-Spain Council, an organization of government officials and business leaders committed to strong bilateral relations between Spain and the United States.
Before his posting to Madrid, Solomont chaired the bipartisan board of directors of the Corporation for National and Community Service, the federal agency that oversees such domestic service programs as AmeriCorps, VISTA and Senior Corps. He was first appointed to the board by President Clinton in 2000, reappointed by President George W. Bush in 2007 and elected chair in 2009.
Like President Obama, who nominated him to be ambassador in the summer of 2009, Solomont worked as a community organizer as a young man, in the city of Lowell, Massachusetts. He traces his interest in the problems of America’s cities to his mentor at Tufts, Antonia Chayes, the former dean of Jackson College, who taught urban studies in the political science department and served with her husband, Abram Chayes, in the Kennedy administration. To this day, Solomont says, “she was an enormous influence on my intellectual growth.”
Throughout his career, Solomont has embraced the importance of political activism and public service to benefit society.
After graduating from Tufts with a B.A. in political science and urban studies, Solomont made his first trip to Spain while on a Thomas J. Watson Fellowship for postgraduate study and travel abroad.
He returned to his native Massachusetts to work as a community organizer in Lowell. His mother was a nurse at Boston City Hospital, and Solomont earned a B.S. in nursing from the University of Lowell (now the University of Massachusetts Lowell) in 1977. The UMass Lowell’s School of Nursing is now named the Alan and Susan Solomont School of Nursing.
Solomont spent much of his professional career in the health and elder-care arenas. He founded the ADS Group, which developed and managed a network of elder-care facilities in New England. Later, he started Angel Healthcare Investors to invest in early-stage health-care companies, and he cofounded HouseWorks, a home-care company that helps seniors remain independent at home.
A longtime leader in the Democratic Party, Solomont got his first exposure to national politics as an undergraduate in 1968, when he worked as a page for the Massachusetts delegation during the tumultuous Democratic National Convention in Chicago. Later, he served as the party’s National Finance Chair from 1997 to 1998, and he was an early supporter of Barack Obama’s bid for the presidency. He also played key roles in the presidential campaigns of John Kerry, Al Gore, Bill Clinton and Michael Dukakis.
Through the years, Solomont has remained deeply involved in Tufts. As a Tisch College senior fellow and visiting instructor, he taught an undergraduate political science seminar on the American presidency, a course known for the political luminaries and leaders he brought to campus.
A trustee emeritus of the university, Solomont was the founding chair of the Tisch College Board of Advisors. To mark the 10th anniversary of the college in 2011, his friends and colleagues endowed the Alan D. Solomont Lecture in recognition of his leadership as an active citizen. Congresswoman Nancy Pelosi, the first woman speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives, gave the inaugural lecture. Other speakers have included United States Congressman and civil rights icon Representative John Lewis. Today, the Tisch College Distinguished Speaker Series is named for Alan and his wife Susan.
Solomont has served on the boards of several nonprofit and for-profit organizations. He currently chairs the national board of J Street, a pro-Israel, pro-peace and pro-democracy organization which promotes a diplomacy-first foreign policy and a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
In 2010, then-University President Larry Bacow awarded Solomont the Tufts University Presidential Medal, and upon his retirement as Tisch College Dean, President Tony Monaco presented him with the Hosea Ballou Medal.
Alan is married to Susan Lewis Solomont, AG81, herself a Tufts graduate, and they have two grown daughters, Becca, A08, and Stephanie. In the extended Solomont-Lewis family, there are nine Tufts alumni.