Reflections on 2015-16

July 5, 2016

To the Yale Community,

As the 2015-16 academic year gives way to 2016-17, I feel more privileged and committed than ever to work with my faculty and staff colleagues, our students, and Yale’s worldwide alumni community to sustain and strengthen this university we all hold dear. I write to you today to reflect on a few of the things we have accomplished together over the past twelve months, and to look forward to what lies ahead.

We have recruited many new academic leaders in the last two years—soon it will be eight new deans out of a total of fifteen. The newest members of this committed academic team bring excellence, diversity, and fresh perspective to our ranks: Tamar Gendler in the Faculty of Arts and Sciences, Jonathan Holloway in Yale College, Lynn Cooley in the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, Ann Kurth in the School of Nursing, Deborah Berke in the School of Architecture, and Marta Kuzma in the School of Art. I expect to name new deans of the School of Public Health and the School of Forestry & Environmental Studies this summer. Meanwhile, our community extends its collective appreciation to this year’s departing deans, who have done so much to contribute to Yale’s success: Paul Cleary, Peter Crane, Margaret Grey, Robert A.M. Stern, and Robert Storr. These individuals and many other colleagues across our campus are united in their commitment to initiatives that foster a Yale community that is more connected, innovative, and inspiring than ever before.

Although our most important campus resource is our people—faculty, staff, and students—Yale’s pursuit of excellent and innovative scholarship and teaching also is made possible by bricks-and-mortar projects. The past decade at Yale has been one of physical transformation for the university, and the year just ending is no exception. This work extends across our campus and across the disciplines, from the beautifully restored Yale Center for British Art that reopened its doors in May to the new, state-of-the-art undergraduate teaching labs on Science Hill that will be ready to greet the incoming class in August. Projects like the reimagining of the Hall of Graduate Studies at 320 York Street, Hendrie Hall’s renovation and expansion as part of the Adams Center for Musical Arts, and the university-wide hub for campus life being created in the Schwarzman Center are linked by a common theme of bringing students, faculty, and the wider community together in new and exciting ways.

Diversity and inclusion are core values at Yale. Our ambitious faculty diversity initiative and the creation of the Center for the Study of Race, Indigeneity, and Transnational Migration are among the ways we are strengthening our scholarly enterprise, developing the pipeline into higher education, and enhancing support for our students. I recently spoke at length on these topics, and about Yale’s unwavering commitment to free expression, with the New York Review of Books.

We were honored this year to host the United Nations Global Colloquium of University Presidents, focusing on the preservation of cultural heritage, and hear an inspiring message from Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, who took the opportunity to applaud Yale’s ongoing sustainability efforts, including our novel campus carbon charge to reduce the use of fossil fuels.

In keeping with our collective goals for the future, I highlight our university mission statement, which reflects Yale’s abiding commitment to improving the world.

For those of you on campus, I wish you a summer that is pleasant and productive in equal measure, and look forward to our continued work together in the new academic year ahead. And for those in the greater Yale community around the globe, I hope to see many of you in the future here on campus or in my travels for Yale.

With all warmest wishes,

Peter Salovey
President and Chris Argyris Professor of Psychology