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Volume 21 No. 38
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Charm, chutzpah deliver free ride to graduate school

Sal Galatioto showed up at his 1974 interview for the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University soaking wet, with none of the background of a typical applicant and not enough money to go if he somehow got in anyway.


He ended up going to the school for free and earned a master’s in international relations.

The day before his interview, Galatioto finished up a Friday at Hunter College and a shift at Ohrbach’s department store before driving up Saturday morning to the Boston suburb of Medford for his interview with Dean Charles Shane. It poured the entire way from New York to Boston, where he had never been, and he parked on the wrong side of the Tufts campus. He had no umbrella.

“I looked like a drowned rat,” Galatioto recalled. “Dean Shane starts the interview and he is like, ‘You look like you just came out of a shower.’

“Basically, I had none of the qualifications to get into the school. I had never lived overseas. I had no travel.”

Galatioto laid out his credentials of working his way through Hunter and graduating with honors. He threw in that he had taken the Graduate Record Exams and his results would be stellar. He read 20 volumes of history books to study for it.

“So he said, ‘If you get in the top 5 percent, I will consider,’” Galatioto said. “Poor Dean Shane. I said to him — I am always negotiating — I said, ‘I will tell you what, I can’t afford to come here so if I make the top 2 percent, you let me in for free.’ He’s like, ‘You are not going to get in the top 2 percent, so I will make the deal with you, but that’s a mug’s game.’”

Nine days later, Galatioto’s results came and he had scored in the top 2 percent.

“So I picked up the phone and I called Dean Shane, and I said, ‘Do you remember me?’ He said, ‘How can I forget you? You were the only person who came to an interview completely soaked.’ I said, ‘Well, I expect to get my acceptance letter and free ride.’ I said, ‘We had a handshake.’ He said, ‘We had a handshake.’”