Yale University

The International Room at Sterling Library.

The International Room at Sterling Library, Yale University

Service to Society

Throughout Yale's history, its graduates have served as leaders in all sectors of society. Timothy Dwight, Yale President from 1795 to 1817, exhorted students to “act, not like inhabitants of a village, nor like being of an hour, but like citizens of the world.”

Yale Graduate Serve the United States

Beginning with Nathan Hale (B.A. 1773), who was hanged by the British for being a spy during the American Revolution, Yale graduates have a long history of service to their government. William Howard Taft was the first Yale graduate to be elected President of the United States and only person to also serve as Chief Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court. Other U.S. Presidents with Yale degrees are Gerald Ford, George H.W. Bush, William J. Clinton, and George W. Bush.

Many Yale graduates have served their country in other capacities. William Christian Bullitt, Jr., (B.A. 1913) was the first ambassador to the Soviet Union (1933–1936) and George H.W. Bush (B.A. 1948) was the tenth ambassador to the United Nations (1971–73) and then Chief of the U.S. Liaison Office to the People’s Republic of China (1974–75). In the past twenty years alone, Yale graduates have served as U.S. ambassadors in over seventy posts around the world from China and India to Bahrain and Chile.

William Howard Taft
B.A. 1878

27th President
10th Chief Justice


Gerald Ford
LL.B. 1941

38th President


George H.W. Bush, B.A. 1948, George W. Bush, B.A. 1968, William J. Clinton, J.D. 1973

41st, 43rd, and 42 Presidents

Secretaries of State

Henry Stimson
B.A. 1888



Dean Acheson
B.A. 1915, LL.D. 1977



Cyrus Vance
B.A. 1939, LL.B. 1942, LL.D. 1968



Hillary Clinton
J.D. 1973, LL.D. 2009


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