Gratitude for Our Community

November 4, 2019

Well into the fall semester, we are all busy with many commitments that make up life at Yale—classes, activities, meetings, and more. But now is also a welcome opportunity for me to express my gratitude to members of the Yale community for their hard work and dedication to this university. All around us we see how much our students, faculty, staff, and alumni care about Yale and its mission.

I am especially excited—and grateful—for the tremendous progress we are making in executing our university-wide academic priorities. A major component of my vision for Yale is a push in the sciences. Last week, we marked a milestone in these efforts with a community-wide celebration of the opening of the Yale Science Building.

A centerpiece of our plan to transform scientific discovery and education at Yale, the new science building is already humming with activity. Twenty-two investigators have moved in, and faculty, graduate students, and post-docs have set up laboratories and offices. As you walk down hallways lined with white boards, you see equations, notes, and questions scribbled on every possible surface.

This building is designed to enable faculty members and graduate students to share ideas, solve problems, and ask new questions about our natural world. And they are supported by state-of-the-art core facilities and equipment. The building also provides an important educational space on Science Hill. On a recent visit, I saw a biology class and then “my” old class, PSYCH 110, Introduction to Psychology, meeting in the 500-seat O.C. Marsh Lecture Hall.

An undertaking of this magnitude requires vision, dedication, and collaboration among many people. I am very grateful to Anna Pyle, Sterling Professor of Molecular, Cellular, and Developmental Biology, and the members of the Yale Science Building Executive Committee for their careful planning. I also thank the many faculty and staff members who worked tirelessly on this project. Their work will yield extraordinary results for years to come—not only for Yale, but for our world.

As you walk through campus, I encourage you to notice how other projects are taking shape. I was recently able to go on a “hard hat tour” of the new Schwarzman Center and see the remarkable work construction crews are doing on this impressive project. They are renovating the historic Commons and opening up large new spaces for arts and cultural programming, dining, and community life in the center of Yale’s campus.

Work on 320 York Street—our signature project to transform the former Hall of Graduate Studies and provide a central hub for the humanities at Yale—is progressing well, too. By increasing multidisciplinary collaboration for the humanities, we will enhance our ability to ask and answer meaningful questions about ourselves and the world.

As we see these ambitious plans take shape, I am humbled by the generosity of the Yale community. In the past fiscal year, more than 46,000 alumni, parents, and friends contributed $826.8 million in new commitments to this university. We set a new record—$662.8 million—for cash raised in a single year at Yale. The Yale Alumni Fund also set a new record of $42.9 million in annual gifts supporting Yale College, the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, and the twelve professional schools. These outstanding fundraising results reflect how much members of the Yale community believe in Yale and its mission of light and truth.

To everyone who contributes to Yale and helps us “improve the world today and for future generations,” you have my deepest gratitude.