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The MLAS degree program was founded in 1992 by Russell McIntire, Associate Dean of the College of Arts and Science. During Dean McIntire's time as Director, the program grew in the number of courses offered each semester and enrolled students, with over 70 graduates. In 2006 its direction passed to Martin Rapisarda, Associate Dean for Post-Baccalaureate Programs. Under Dean Rapisarda's guidance, the MLAS program evolved into the enhanced program it is today. After Dean Rapisarda's retirement in 2016, the program was directed by College of Arts and Science deans Alan Itkin, Andrea Hearn, and Carrie Russell. Recruiting some of the most distinguished Vanderbilt professors, the MLAS program has become one of the most desirable Master’s programs for adult learners in Middle Tennessee, resulting in hundreds of graduates having marched across the commencement stage over the past thirty years.