Inauguration Week Begins with a Nobel Prize

October 7, 2013

This morning, I woke up to the marvelous news that James Rothman ’71, the Wallace Professor of Biomedical Sciences, professor and chairman of the Department of Cell Biology, professor of chemistry, and director of the Nanobiology Institute at West Campus has been awarded the 2013 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine. Jim shares the award with professors from Stanford and Berkeley for pathbreaking work in cell biology. This is fitting recognition of Jim’s passionate and lifelong commitment to scholarship in basic science. And we can all share a sense of Yale pride when one of our own is recognized for excellence. There will be opportunities to celebrate Jim’s achievement in the weeks and months to come, but for now, I hope all of you will join me in congratulating Jim!

Today’s Nobel Prize announcement marks a great beginning to what is shaping up to be a great week, as we come together to celebrate a presidential transition at Yale. I hope you will consider joining us for some of the activities that Vice President and Secretary Kim Goff-Crews, Professor Dan Harrison, and their committee have planned for our campus (described at the inauguration website). The inauguration events capture the diversity and excellence of our community, and I am especially honored to be invited to visit so many workplaces all around campus each day this week.

During the week and the coming weekend, our faculty will offer samplings of great teaching and scholarship in a series of symposia, there will be a musical celebration, and we will welcome the Yale and New Haven communities to open houses all around campus (one of them involving the “dogs of Yale,” including Handsome Dan and Portia, Marta’s and my Havanese). Faculty, staff, and students are invited to special gatherings, and there might even be some bluegrass musical surprises here and there!

Next Sunday is the formal presidential installation, and I will offer remarks focused on the centrality of teaching and learning in a most distinguished research university. This celebration, however, is not about me: although I am honored and humbled to serve as Yale’s 23rd president, we can all celebrate the university that we love and reflect on its place in the world. I know I will be spending time this week feeling gratitude for the contributions each of you makes every day that collectively produce what is amazing and inspiring about Yale.

A special thank you to everyone who has worked so hard to plan a stimulating and enjoyable week on campus,