Salovey named Yale’s next president

Peter Salovey. You're looking at your new president. (Courtesy Yale University)

Starting June 30, get ready to call current Provost Peter Salovey, GRD ’86, president.

Today, in a email at 2:43 PM to the University, Edward P. Bass, SY ’67, ARC ’72, and Yale Corporation’s senior fellow, announced that the Corporation has unanimously decided to tap current university provost and professor of psychology Peter Salovey to be the 23rd president of the university.

In an interview with the Herald, Salovey expressed excitement at this career-defining opportunity. “It [being president] is a campus-wide position, but the Provost is really strictly academic strategy, and I think the president has to think about the whole, and how all the parts interrelate,” he said.

In his email, Bass stated that the Yale Corporation selected tapped Salovey out of a field of 150 candidates, for his understanding of Yale and his great ambitions for the University’s future: “The combination of his stellar scholarship, his deep knowledge and love for Yale, his personal qualities and his experience in key leadership roles makes him the best person to lead the University well into the twenty-first century,” the email read.

Salovey intends to consider the voices of Yale’s faculty and student body to inform the agenda that will guide his term. “Mostly, the next few months, I really want to reach out and find out, what do people want from this place?” he says. “What do they dream about when they think about the Yale of the future? What are their aspirations for Yale and how can we come to a shared vision so that we’re all able to pitch in and realize the Yale that we really want to see.”

Salovey, who has already dedicated 30 years to Yale, has already served in just about every leadership position at the university. He will be the first Yale president to have also been chair of an academic department, dean of the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, dean of Yale College, and university provost. However, he believes that this new position will allow him to see the university from a new perspective. “After you’ve been here 30 years,” he said, “it’s easy to think you know what the place needs, but maybe because I’ve been here 30 years, it’s really important not to make that assumption and to hear with fresh ears, and to see with fresh eyes.”

The New Haven Independent reports that the official announcement was made today at a 2:30 p.m. event in the McDougal Center at the Hall of Graduate Studies, where New Haven Mayor John DeStefano and West Haven Mayor John M. Picard were both in attendance.

In an email to the university on Aug. 30, President Levin announced that his 20-year tenure would end at the conclusion of the 2012-2013 academic year. Under his tenure, Levin has overseen various capital improvement projects, curricular reform, and Yale’s international expansion. However, his term has been primarily defined by his goal to improve the relationship between Yale and New Haven, as he expressed he hoped it would on the day he assumed office in 1993.

As president, Salovey will head the non-profit institution which is New Haven’s largest employer and one of its largest property owners. Salovey stated that town-gown relations will still be a focus of his term, but that this relationship will shift to focus primarily on economic development: “I think the city of New Haven, and what Yale can do to be a collaborator with the city of New Haven, are very important,” he shared. “But now I especially want to focus on economic development, and essentially creating jobs in new haven, through our faculty’s work, through our students’ entrepreneurial activities, luring employers here.”

Salovey is already assuming the responsibility of his new position by reaching out to Yale community in an attempt to establish the openness that is already defining his term. “It’s a little bit of a whirlwind coming up,” he said. “I will be at the football game Saturday. In fact, if all goes well, I’m going to try to be at the football game, the volleyball game, and the basketball game,” he said.

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