A Legacy Sixty Years Strong

March 23, 2015

Happy spring—and welcome back to those of you just returning from the mid-semester recess. I trust March, which indeed came in like a lion, will now exit in a more ovine way.

Today is a particularly exciting day to be here on campus, as we welcome a very special guest, Rabbi Lord Jonathan Sacks. As many of you know, Rabbi Lord Sacks is among the world’s foremost religious, moral, and philosophical leaders and holds faculty appointments at New York University, Yeshiva University, and King’s College London. This afternoon, he will join me for a discussion marking the sixtieth anniversary of the Marshall Scholarship. This conversation will take place at 4:00 p.m. in the auditorium at Yale Law School, and we have set aside a number of tickets for readers of these “Notes”: if you are interested in attending, please reply to this message by no later than 11:30 this morning. (The tickets, one per person, will be allocated on a first-come, first served basis. All requests submitted by the deadline will receive a response from my office.) And for those of you not there in person, live streaming video of the conversation will be available online.

I am honored not only by this opportunity to spend time in conversation with our distinguished visitor, but also by the chance for Yale to participate in the celebration of this milestone for the Marshall Scholarship. When the first cohort was selected in 1954, few could have imagined that sixty years later nearly 1,900 individuals (118 of them Yalies!) from more than 200 institutions would have been named as Marshall Scholars—a remarkable legacy for this program inspired by the post-World War II political and economic rebuilding of Europe under the Marshall Plan.

Yale, like the Marshall Scholarships, acts on the conviction that education and research—and society more broadly—are strengthened invaluably by the international exchange of ideas and perspectives. As George C. Marshall himself wrote in a letter to the first recipients of the Marshall Scholarship, such exchange is “essential to the good of mankind”; this was true in 1954 and it is only more so today.

From Yale’s first Marshall Scholar, Alan R. Novak (who graduated as a Navy Scholar from Yale College in 1955 and returned following his study at Oxford to earn an L.L.B. from Yale Law School in 1963) to this year’s cohort of six recipients, Yale’s Marshall Scholars are experts in fields from astrophysics to zoology, including cognitive science, geology, global health, international affairs, journalism, law, and public policy. The scholarships are also well represented among our current faculty and staff.

To all of Yale’s Marshall Scholars—and to all of our community members who contribute in diverse ways to international understanding and collaboration: thank you, and happy anniversary! And to Rabbi Lord Sacks, thank you for honoring Yale with your visit on this historic occasion.