I write this note having just welcomed new students to Yale College, the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, and the School of Management, with others scheduled in the weeks ahead. It is energizing to interact with students who are experiencing Yale for the first time, as they take in the inspiring atmosphere of this place. You would think after more than thirty-two years on this campus, I couldn’t possibly empathize with what they are feeling, but in fact, last week this old Yale hand had a new Yale experience of his own out at Yale’s West Campus.
First I visited the Institute for the Preservation of Cultural Heritage, which is located in the building on West Campus where Bayer Pharmaceutical Company once manufactured aspirin and Cipro. What impressed me so much was listening to two chemists, Anikó Bezur and Paul Whitmore, explain how they use analytic tools like electron microscopy and X-ray fluorescence to determine whether various objects of art such as sculptures or paintings contain their original materials or have been altered or “improved.” They also study how art objects degrade when exposed to light, weather, and harsh environments—or even just the ravages of time.
Later, I visited the new home of the School of Nursing, which has moved from the old Richard Lee High School building in New Haven to a gorgeous, light-filled space at West Campus. The new facility contains state-of-the-art classrooms and nursing simulation laboratories, as well as new faculty and administrative offices, and wonderful common areas for mingling and studying.
With the arrival of 446 people from the School of Nursing, the number of Yale faculty, students, and staff on the West Campus totals 1,023. The outstanding laboratory and research facilities have already made West Campus a true academic community. But with great conference and dining facilities, a community garden, exercise facilities and walking trails, a recreation room with foosball and air hockey, and a reliable shuttle bus, the West Campus now shares the energy and activity of Yale’s main campus. I encourage everyone who can spare a few moments to visit. (For those of you who care about these things, it took me only 12 minutes to drive there at 7:45 a.m. on a Monday from the East Rock neighborhood of New Haven!) Or, take a look at the new West Campus website for a virtual tour.