Sandy Pool ’70
Former Bates booter Sandy Pool helped shape national priorities in regard to science
Sandy Pool graduated from Bates in 1970 with a major in history, having played soccer for the legendary Coach George Wigton. Like many other scholar-athletes of his era who went on to significant accomplishments, he credited Coach Wigton for much of what he learned outside the classroom. Sandy once wrote in a letter to Bates, “I believe that character counts; and Coach Wigton taught me by his daily example that success in life is about having character, not being one.” Somewhat playfully, he also offered that Coach Wigton had taught him not to bid to a three-card suit, though given his later career in high stakes federal and university law, perhaps that training was more important than it first seemed.
Sandy after Bates served four years as a Marine Corps Officer, and then earned his law degree from Suffolk University.
For 10 years he was a Senior Attorney for the United States General Accounting Office in Washington, where he counseled on legislation, contracts law and adjudicating bid protests. He also served as a congressional counsel for the Federal Coal Leasing Commission and House Government Operations Committee investigations of major procurement frauds.
For the next 20 years, Sandy served as legal counsel to the California Institute of Technology and the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena. His practice as in-house counsel for a major national scientific research university charted some of the important American policies about how colleges and universities use federal funds to further science, shape national priorities, and ultimately make decisions on how well we understand the universe around us. His practice centered on the negotiation and management of the prime contract with NASA for the operation of the Jet Propulsion Laboratory and such major initiatives as the Mars Program. In addition to the full range of higher education issues at Caltech, Sandy worked on the legal aspects of very large sponsored research projects such as the National Science Foundation’s Laser Interferometer Gravitational Wave Observatories, or “LIGO,” in which Caltech and MIT were the lead institutions for research into the physics of gravitational waves in space-time continuums predicted by Einstein’s theory of relativity. Sandy also specialized in government relations and corporate governance and took on duties in fund-raising for Caltech, including serving as director of estate planning for the Institute.
With two grown daughters in New York and Atlanta, Sandy recently retired from Caltech, and he and his wife have returned to New England. He will maintain a private law practice focused on estate planning and consulting on higher education issues, while developing a small farm to grow apples and learn maple sugaring.
For his lifelong, skilled commitments to the rule of law at the intersection of college and university scientific research with national space priorities, and for his contributions to the long term understanding of the order of our universe, we are honored to welcome Sandy Pool into the membership of the Bates Scholar-Athlete Society.