University Council

The University Council was established in 1947 as an advisory body to the president of the University for the purpose of studying and making recommendations on particular facets of University life.  The Council is unique among all of Yale’s volunteer leadership advisory groups as the only one that is not limited to a certain area or activity of the university, or to representation of a particular group of people in the Yale community.  The Council’s broad scope enables the president to call upon the group for advice on the most important strategic questions and opportunities for the university at any given moment in time.

The University Council is distinct from the Yale Corporation in that it bears no fiduciary responsibility for the university and its membership is not limited to alumni of the university.  It is solely an advisory body, which allows members to bring perspective and offer advice that is unfettered by the practicalities of operational concerns, even as all members are dedicated to ensuring a strong Yale today, and for the future.

Council members are appointed by the Yale Corporation on nomination by the President.  Members are generally alumni of the university or parents of current students.

The Council meets twice yearly on campus, typically in November and April. The group may have up to thirty-five members.  In addition, the Chair of the Association of Yale Alumni Board of Governors and Chair of the Yale Alumni Fund Board of Directors serve as ex officio members. Members generally serve for a three-year term, and the president of the university may invite members to serve an additional term.

In keeping with the Council’s role, the president of the university attends all meetings.

The by-laws of the University Council allow for the formation of committees to pursue in depth studies of particular topics or areas of the university.  That has been part of past practice, and may be done in the future.  Currently, the president asks the University Council to consider issues and provide advice in shorter timeframes, to keep pace with the speed of change at the university and in higher education more broadly.  This also allows the Council to address many issues across its two meetings each year, thereby offering their advice on more topics than might otherwise be possible.

University Council Past Committees

Concluded Since 2001

Committee on West Campus (April 2014)
Committee on Alcohol in Yale College (December 2013)
Committee on Reputation (April 2013)
Committee on Technology Transfer (April 2013)
Committee on the School of Forestry and Environmental Studies (December 2012)
Committee on the School of Engineering and Applied Science (December 2010)
Committee on the School of Art (December 2009)
Committee on Digital Yale (April 2009)
Committee on a Sustainable Yale (December 2008)
Committee on the Yale School of Music (April 2008)
Committee on Workplace Diversity (November 2007)
Committee on Theater at Yale (March 2006)
Committee on New Haven Economic Development (March 2006)
Committee on Religious and Spiritual Life at Yale (December 2004)
Committee on Undergraduate Student Services (April 2003)
Committee on Distance Learning (April 2002)
Committee on Yale School of Architecture (May 2001)

University Council Members

Roger L. Barnett ’86 B.A., ’89 J.D. (2024)
Jean Bennett ’76 B.S.(2024)
Elisa A. Spungen Bildner ’75 B.A. (2022)
Angela Buchdahl ’94 B.A. (2024)
Bruce L. Cohen ’83 B.A. (2022)
Monica Drake ’94 B.A. (2024)
Douglas B. Ellis ’87 B.S. (2022)
Stephen Freidheim ’86 B.A. (2023)
Donald Gips ’89 M.B.A. (2023)
Marla Grossman ’90 B.A. (2022), ex officio, Yale Alumni Fund
Scott Hahn ’94 B.A. (2024)
Jerry W. Henry ’80 M.Div. (2022), ex officio, Yale Alumni Association
Jessica Herrera-Flanigan ’92 B.A. (2022)
Marie Oh Huber ’83 B.A. (2024)
Jennifer Jackson ’98 B.S. (2024)
Laura L. Kiessling ’89 Ph.D. (2022)
Eleanor Laurans ’00 B.A. (2023)
Roger H. Lee ’94 B.A. (2023), president of the University Council
Sheila Jackson Lee ’72 B.A. (2024)
Tom Lee ’90 B.S. (2024)
Goodwin Liu ’98 J.D. (2022)
David J. Millstone ’99 B.A. (2023)
Melanie Sanford ’96 B.S., ’96 M.S. (2024)
Daniel P. Schrag ’88 B.S. (2022)
Neil Shen ’92 M.A. (2022)
Tarek A. Sherif ’84 B.A. (2023)
Robert Simonds ’85 B.A. (2022)
Marta L. Tellado ’02 Ph.D. (2023)
Tali Weinstein ’97 B.A., ’03 J.D. (2024)
Daniel H. Weiss ’85 M.P.P.M. (2023)
Maxine Williams ’91 B.A. (2024)
Riley J. Williams ’87 B.S. (2024)
Neal S. Wolin ’83 B.A., ’88 J.D. (2023)

Note: Year in parentheses indicates end of current term