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Yale Picks a President (Quickly)

Less than three months (two months and eight days, actually) after Rick Levin resigned, Yale has chosen a new President: current Provost Peter Salovey.

(Jim Kim resigned on March 23, and according to search committee head Bill Helman ‘80 we’ll have a President on July 1, 2013. That’s three months and one week and one year after Kim decamped. I sure hope that the Trustees aren’t inspired to pick our former Provost.)

Here is the NYT report, and below please find Yale’s announcement memo to alumni:

To: Yale Alumni
From: Edward P. Bass ‘67, Senior Fellow of the Yale Corporation
Re: Yale’s Next President

To Yale Alumni:

It is with great pleasure that I am able to inform you of the Yale Corporation’s unanimous and enthusiastic election of Peter Salovey to be the next President of Yale University, effective June 30, 2013.

Peter brings a profound understanding of Yale and great ambitions for advancing the University in the years ahead. He came to Yale as a Psychology graduate student in 1981, and over the last three decades has rendered remarkable service and leadership to our University. He is the only person to be appointed President in the history of Yale who has also served as Chair of his academic department, as Dean of the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, as Dean of Yale College, and as Provost. A superb scholar, Peter is highly regarded in his field of social psychology for seminal research on the concept of emotional intelligence and influential studies of effective health communications. He is also known as an exceptional teacher, making Introductory Psychology memorable for generations of students. In recognition of his excellence as a professor, he was awarded the DeVane Medal for Distinguished Scholarship and Teaching in Yale College in 2000.

In choosing Peter Salovey, the Fellows of the Corporation were inspired by his impeccable integrity and character, as well as his commitment to excellence that has benefited the Yale community in so many ways over the past 30 years. Peter is particularly gifted in building strong and respectful relationships among faculty, students, staff and alumni. These qualities are essential for the leader of this great University. The combination of his stellar scholarship, his deep knowledge and love for Yale, his personal qualities and his experience in key leadership roles makes him the best person to lead the University well into the twenty-first century.

Peter clearly embodies the characteristics and attributes set forth in the Presidential Search Statement. We were impressed by his stature as a scholar, his success in recruiting outstanding faculty to Yale, and his ability to facilitate important academic initiatives, such as the overhaul of Yale’s long-standing tenure policies with its attendant positive impact on Yale’s non-tenured faculty. In our deliberations, we also gave great weight to his significant administrative experience, especially his cumulative ten years as Dean of Yale College, Dean of the Graduate School, and Provost.

In his array of administrative positions at Yale, Peter has gained important experience in academic planning and strategy, faculty development, budgets, human resources, and stewardship of Yale’s unrivaled collections. Throughout his Yale career, Peter has manifested an abiding passion for student life, which is such an essential part of Yale’s core mission. We were excited by his insights into the possibilities for using technology to extend the reach of teaching. We were also impressed by his commitment to enhancing the quality of instruction and mentoring, and to addressing weaknesses and making improvements where necessary. Peter demonstrates a deep commitment to New Haven, understands the importance of the partnership between the City and the University, and has exciting ideas about further advancing this important relationship. He also demonstrated a keen understanding of Yale’s efforts internationally and an enthusiasm for continuing to advance these efforts to develop and refine the experiences of students and faculty alike.

In reaching our decision, the Corporation has benefited from a well-structured and superbly executed process. On behalf of the Corporation and the community, I extend deep gratitude to the four faculty members and eight Corporation Fellows who served on the Presidential Search Committee, ably led by chair Charles Goodyear and vice-chair Paul Joskow. They planned an extensive outreach process, from which we have learned a great deal about Yale and the issues facing higher education. All members of the Committee worked tirelessly and effectively to identify a number of outstanding candidates for consideration by the Corporation. During the search process, the Committee initially identified and considered over 150 individuals. The Committee met weekly, often for several days at a time. Its members carried out important consultations and interviews between meetings. They selected and interviewed a field of candidates around the country, then conducted interviews with finalists before making recommendations to the Yale Corporation. Ultimately, the Committee presented several candidates who were then interviewed by the Corporation.

The appointment of Counselors to the Committee for faculty, students, alumni and staff was an important and very successful innovation in this search. Hundreds of members of our community contributed their insights about the characteristics needed for Yale’s next President and their ideas about Yale’s future agenda. This information was critical to the development of the Presidential Search Statement and helped in assessing the candidates considered by the Committee and ultimately the Corporation as a whole. The Fellows and I are most grateful for the excellent work of these Counselors.

The many perceptive observations about Yale and ideas for its future agenda will be of enormous value to both the incoming President and to the Corporation as we work together to make this a better, stronger, and a more excellent Yale. I want to express my deep gratitude to the many members of the Yale community who participated in this process.

We are not only excited to have Peter as President, we also look forward to the contributions of Marta Moret, Peter’s wife of 26 years, who is already well known within the Yale and New Haven communities. Marta and Peter met when they were both graduate students at Yale: she was a Vice President of the Graduate & Professional Student Senate when Peter was its President.

Marta, a 1984 graduate of Yale’s School of Public Health, is a dedicated Yale alumna, having served as a member of the Board of Governors of the AYA and as an active participant in many alumni activities. She is President of Urban Policy Strategies, LLC, currently serves on the Council for Women’s Health Research at Yale and is active in helping various community-based health and education programs throughout Connecticut.

The Fellows of the Yale Corporation would be in a very different position in appointing a new President were we not building on the magnificent advancements of Yale that President Rick Levin accomplished.

I also want to thank Jane Levin, who has been such a committed partner and exemplary University citizen, even while leading our superb Directed Studies program to a new level of excellence.

Rick leaves a lasting legacy of exceptional leadership, one on which our next President can build with confidence. Rick has been an extraordinary mentor for leaders of higher education who have left his Yale leadership team to lead other distinguished universities, among them Oxford, Cambridge, MIT, Duke, and Wellesley. This legacy continues with Peter’s appointment as the next President of Yale. We could not be in a more fortunate position, and we look forward to working with Peter to advance Yale in the years ahead.

I know you will join me in enthusiastically welcoming Peter Salovey as the twenty-third President of Yale University.

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