Living above the Store

October 13, 2014

When Marta and I moved into our quarters within 43 Hillhouse Avenue last month with Portia, our Havanese, we became the newest members of a community-within-a-community: for the first time in our adult lives, we are living not just near campus, but on campus. And we are savoring the experience. In the morning, as I walk in to work at Woodbridge Hall, the sidewalks along Hillhouse Avenue offer up countless opportunities to connect with students, chat with colleagues, and say hello to friends new and old. On weekends we walk Portia around the neighborhood, sometimes down toward Cross Campus, sometimes up over Science Hill. With hockey season kicking off, we will hear from our front porch the fanfare of Yale goals being scored at the Whale—although we are far more likely to be found cheering the women’s and men’s teams on from rinkside!

Campus life is a quintessential part of the Yale experience for many of our students. But it also holds a special place for those of us who are fortunate enough to live where we work. In the residential colleges, the masters and deans and their families live alongside students and resident fellows. The new dean of Yale College and his family are a block away from me in the dean’s house on Prospect Street. The dean of the Divinity School and the university chaplain, among others, call Yale’s campus home.

I think of it as “living above the store” in a way: close enough to keep an eye on all the wonderful comings-and-goings that take place on campus and at 43 Hillhouse. Last month we held a gathering to welcome new faculty and their families from all across campus. A few weeks later we were privileged to host a tea and book reading with Dr. Henry Kissinger. Last week the fellows and mentors from the Graduate School’s Post-baccalaureate Research Education (PREP) Program stopped by. Over this past weekend we opened our doors to students’ parents, grandparents, and other relatives as a part of Yale College Family Weekend.

Tomorrow, among the many special events to celebrate Yale’s Founders Day, 43 Hillhouse will be open to the Yale community from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. The building Marta and I live in may be known as the president’s house, but we like to think of it as the university’s house—a place that welcomes all of us for whom Yale is home, whether figuratively or literally. I hope you will stop by tomorrow to explore the house and visit the store I now call home.