Mark M. Sawoski, 67, Professor of International Relations at Roger Williams University, died unexpectedly at his home in Little Compton, RI, on March 13, 2022. Sawoski served in key roles in the …
Mark M. Sawoski, 67, Professor of International Relations at Roger Williams University, died unexpectedly at his home in Little Compton, RI, on March 13, 2022. Sawoski served in key roles in the Carter and Clinton administrations, including as the special assistant to the spokesman for the State Department during the Iran Hostage Crisis and on the team negotiating the Dayton Peace Accords ending the war in Bosnia. After discovering Little Compton in his sailboat, he moved there with his wife Sue Eckert in 1990. He was the proud father of two children, Matthew J.G. Sawoski and Catherine M.A. Sawoski.
Sawoski was born to Henry and Dorthey Sawoski in Morris Plains, New Jersey. He received his undergraduate degree from Tufts University, and two masters degrees and a PhD from the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy. Before receiving his PhD, he joined Carter administration’s State Department as a public opinion expert, eventually serving as the special assistant to two of the Department’s spokesmen, Hodding Carter III and John Trattner. He also taught at Tufts University and the University of New Hampshire.
After completing his doctorate, Sawoski joined the faculty of Roger Williams in 1987, where he created the university’s international relations program. His academic research focused on the foreign policy beliefs of national political elites, and he taught hundreds of students about Russia, China, international law, and international negotiations. He was beloved by students and colleagues alike. He was a member of the Council on Foreign Relations and a regular participant in the CFR’s Boston roundtable.
In 1990, Sawoski married Sue Eckert and they moved to Little Compton; both returned to Washington in 1993 to accept political appointments in the Clinton administration. Sawoski served in senior positions dealing with European security issues in the Pentagon, including negotiating and implementing the Equip and Train program of the Dayton Peace Accords. Following government service, he returned to Roger Williams where he continued to teach until his death.
Sawoski was an avid sailor, gardener and cook. His sloop, Reprise, was moored in Little Compton where he was a member of the Sakonnet Yacht Club. He was a long-time member of the Little Compton United Congregational Church, and chair of the Little Compton Zoning Board at the time of his death.
Survivors include his mother, Dorothy Sawoski of Morris Plains, NJ; his wife of 32 years Sue, of Little Compton; his son, Matthew, a senior at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor and daughter, Catherine, a sophomore at Barnard College in New York; sister, Christine (and husband Doug) Winner of Newtown, CT.
A memorial service will be held at the United Congregational Church on June 25, 2022.
To honor his legacy, Roger Williams has created the Prof. Mark Sawoski Memorial Scholarship and the family asks that any kindnesses be directed to this lasting tribute at https://www.rwu.edu/giving/ways-to-give/mark-sawoski-scholarship.