1, 2000Volume 29, Number 1
House to wear Old Blue once more
left is a photo of Connecticut senator and Democratic vice presidential
nominee Joseph Lieberman from the 1964 Yale yearbook; the caption
reads "Joe, our rabble rouser." Below is the 1968 Yale yearbook
entry for Texas governor and Republican presidential candidate George
W. Bush, listing his various activities on campus.
Vice President Al
Gore's recent selection of U.S. Senator Joseph Lieberman as his running
mate guarantees that, once again, a Yale alumnus will serve as President
or Vice President of the United States.
have served in one of the nation's two highest elected offices ever
since 1981. George H.W. Bush, Yale College '48, served as Vice President
from 1981 to 1989 and then as President for four years, followed by
Bill Clinton, Yale Law School '73, who has served as President since
addition, three of the last five Presidents have been Yale alumni; Gerald
Ford, who served as President from August 1974 to January 1977, graduated
from Yale Law School in 1941.
barring a political earthquake of some kind, either GOP presidential
candidate George W. Bush, Yale College '68, will occupy the Oval Office
starting next Jan. 20 or Lieberman, Yale College '64 and Yale Law School
'67, will serve as Vice President under Gore.
fact, three of the four candidates for President or Vice President
have Yale ties; Richard B. Cheney, Bush's running mate, attended Yale
College from September 1959 until January 1961 and from January to June
1962 before finishing his studies at the University of Wyoming.
explains the presence of so many Yalies at the forefront of American
politics? "It underscores the strong sense of civic duty
of so many Yale graduates," President Richard C. Levin said. "Yale has
always been committed to the education of leaders, and I'm confident
that our graduates will continue to populate the highest levels of public
Steven R. Weisman, Yale College '68, an editorial writer with the New
York Times, says that he sees the roots of the current national candidates'
political careers in their time at Yale.
[W]hat I find striking about the candidates," he wrote in the Times,
"is their echo of a peculiar strain of political ambition combined with
do-goodism rampant at Yale in the 1960s, when I was a student along
with Mr. Bush and Mr. Lieberman and other budding politicians like Senator
John Kerry of Massachusetts and Governor George Pataki of New York."
Weisman suggests, Yale's reach is not limited to the White House. Yale
graduates continue to be numerous among governors, senators, and members
of the U.S. House of Representatives. They populate other top posts
in the executive and legislative branches of federal, state and local
governments. They also serve as volunteers all over America.
Nor is Yale's reach limited to politics. The University has educated
more leaders of major U.S. corporations than any other. From Cole Porter
to Maya Lin, few institutions rival Yale's record in producing artistic,
dramatic, and musical talent of distinction. Yale alumni served as the
first presidents of Princeton, Columbia, Williams, Cornell, Johns Hopkins,
the University of Chicago, and the Universities of Georgia, Mississippi,
Missouri, Wisconsin, and California. The record in law, medicine, science,
and religion is no less distinguished.
presence of Yalies at the highest reaches of politics, business, law,
journalism, the arts, science, medicine, academia, and other pursuits
is no accident. It reflects a priority that Yale's founders set at the
birth of the institution in 1701 and that generations of their successors
have carried forward to this day.
Yale's charter of 1701 charges the Collegiate School with the task of
educating youth to be "fitted for Publick employment both in Church
and Civil State." While academic excellence remains the most important
single criterion for admission, Yale has always looked for something
more -- for those elusive qualities that give young men and women the
potential to have an impact on the world, to make contributions to the
larger society through their scholarly, artistic, and professional achievements,
and to work for the betterment of the human condition.
Today, to nourish the development of leadership skills, Yale invests
heavily in extracurricular activities, student organizations, and athletics.
The University seeks students who can provide leadership to all segments
of our heterogeneous society. We continue to provide, to all who qualify
for admission as undergraduates, sufficient financial aid to guarantee
that the cost of a Yale education does not prevent those with the greatest
potential for excellence and leadership from attending.
Yale recognizes that the leaders of tomorrow will operate in a global
environment. To help prepare them, the University has taken steps to
internationalize its curriculum. The content of many social science,
law, and business courses is far more international than even two decades
ago, and enrollment in foreign language courses is at an all-time high.
We have many international students in our graduate programs, and we
are admitting increasing numbers to Yale College. We also have expanded
the opportunities for our undergraduates to study abroad.
the same time, Yale does not lose sight of the vast opportunities for
leadership in its host city, New Haven. More than half of our 5,000
undergraduates participate in community service during the course of
their Yale years, often with young people in the public schools.
instance, nearly 100 undergraduates tutor one-on-one with every third
grader at a local school. Faculty and students from our School of Music
teach high school students, while those from our Schools of Medicine
and Nursing offer a summer science program for high schoolers. Undergraduates
have taught chess at the New Haven Free Public Library, counseled young
teenage women, and produced plays performed by children from around
surprisingly, Yale students do not forget their civic responsibilities
once they graduate. The Mellon Foundation recently found that nearly
two-thirds of those who had graduated Yale College two years earlier
participated voluntarily in local civic activities and organizations,
and that 20 percent had leadership roles in such activities. Of those
15 years beyond graduation, more than two-thirds had served as volunteers
since graduation and nearly 30 percent had served as leaders. Of those
40 years beyond graduation, 83 percent had participated as volunteers
and 56 percent had taken leadership positions. If added to the involvement
with national charitable organizations and with environmental and conservation
groups, the percentages of those who had participated in at least one
volunteer activity rise even further.
the historian George Pierson put it, Yale has long been a place where
activities outside the classroom have played almost as large a role
in the education of our students as the curriculum in it. It is at least
part of the reason why so many of America's leaders have come from the