A Visionary “Ydea”

February 15, 2016

The generosity of Yale alumni to their alma mater is a source of continuous inspiration to me. The $150 million gift last spring from Stephen Schwarzman ’69 is an extraordinary example of a donation that enables us to propel the university forward in truly transformative ways. When the completed Schwarzman Center opens in 2020 we will have, for the first time, a dedicated central space for cultural programming and student life at the very heart of Yale. The center will draw together students, faculty, and staff from the entire campus—including all of Yale’s schools and all of the residential colleges. And with state-of-the-art technology and imaginative programming, it will help to build connections within our university community and among our alumni, all while fostering dynamic new links between Yale and the world—both here in New Haven and extending far beyond our campus walls.

The excellent report of the Schwarzman Center Advisory Committee that was released last week illustrates just how varied the possibilities are for the center and just how widespread its impact will be, benefitting students, faculty, staff, alumni, and community members. I want to offer my special thanks to Deans Jonathan Holloway and Lynn Cooley, co-chairs of the advisory committee, and all of the group’s members for their insightful work.

This Saturday, February 20, I will have the distinct pleasure of serving as a judge at the Schwarzman Center Thinkathon, in which teams of students—undergraduate, graduate, and professional—from across our campus will brainstorm “Big Ydeas” for the center. From the visionary idea of the alumnus who made this project possible to the creative concepts that so many in our community will contribute to its development, the Schwarzman Center has already established itself as a home of innovation and collaborative engagement, a showcase for Yale’s excellence.