Message About President Peter Salovey
August 31, 2023
Dear Members of the Yale Community,
Earlier today, President Peter Salovey ’86 Ph.D. announced that he has decided to step down as Yale’s twenty-third president after serving in this role for over a decade and return to the Yale faculty at the end of this academic year. An accompanying Yale News story highlights just some of what he and our community have achieved together over the past decade.
On behalf of the board of trustees, I can attest to our admiration of President Salovey’s bold vision for Yale, collaborative leadership style, and commitment to creating a culture that celebrates our diversity and fosters belonging and inclusion. We respect his decision and applaud him for choosing a time for leadership transition when the university is in such a strong position financially, academically, and strategically.
From day one, President Salovey articulated a compelling vision and ambitious strategy for Yale’s future. His original aspiration included creating “a more unified Yale, a more accessible Yale, a more innovative Yale, and an even more excellent Yale.” Together, he and the Yale community have realized these broad ambitions and so much more.
In every regard and in every part of campus, Yale has advanced its mission of education, research, scholarship, preservation, and practice—from dramatically expanding its educational and research programs and improving its infrastructure to nurturing a growing culture of innovation. At the same time, the university has expanded the student body while achieving greater affordability for undergraduate, graduate, and many professional school students. It has opened two new residential colleges, a new professional school, a beautiful central hub for student life, and numerous multidisciplinary institutes and centers for research in the humanities, sciences, social sciences, and engineering. Meanwhile, great new facilities, from the Humanities Quadrangle to the Yale Science Building, promote multidisciplinary scholarship and teaching.
Along the way, our community experienced national and global challenges, and President Salovey has helped Yale not only to navigate turbulent waters, but also to engage boldly with the complexities of the world. Behind his leadership, we have overcome periods of economic uncertainty, and during times of growing conflict we have advocated for the value of educational exchange and for international students and scholars. He has worked with students, faculty, staff, and alumni to establish university-wide efforts on inclusion, diversity, and belonging, including an important contribution that looks at Yale’s historical roles in and associations with slavery. And when we faced COVID-19, President Salovey and his senior team led with steadiness and wisdom, enabling the university to pivot quickly to sustain its mission of education and research and to do its part in curbing the spread of the virus, while protecting jobs at the university and working with the City of New Haven to minimize the consequences of the pandemic.
President Salovey has shepherded the creation of many new programs at Yale with the goal of crossing disciplinary boundaries and maximizing the university’s contributions to the world. He has hired gifted deans, vice presidents, and other leaders, and under his leadership Yale has raised $5 billion toward the For Humanity campaign’s $7 billion goal (and a total of $7.2 billion during his presidency so far) to support Yale’s academic mission and impact on the world, expand access through financial aid, and solidify its resources for the future.
President Salovey’s leadership has positioned the university for even greater future success. Yale has restructured and expanded the Faculty of Arts and Sciences and the School of Engineering & Applied Science, launched the Jackson School of Global Affairs, and created a roadmap for the Yale School of Public Health to transition into a self-supporting, independent professional school. Importantly, during his tenure, the university also has substantially increased the size, excellence, and diversity of the faculty.
Of course, one of the things that defines President Salovey is his love for New Haven, the city he and his wife, Marta Moret, ’84 M.P.H., have called home for four decades. He has worked devotedly to be an engaged citizen in and partner with the Elm City. It was a deeply meaningful moment for him and a transformational one for New Haven when Yale pledged over $140 million to increase the university’s voluntary financial contributions to the city and promote inclusive growth.
In the year ahead, we will have the opportunity to celebrate President Salovey’s immense service to our university.
Most immediately, the board of trustees will launch a search for the next president of Yale University. I will lead the search committee with vice chairs Catharine Bond Hill, ’85 Ph.D., and William Kennard, ’81 J.D. The committee will include Ann Miura-Ko, ’98 B.S.; Joshua Steiner, ’87 B.A.; David Sze, ’88 B.A.; Marta Tellado, ’02 Ph.D.; and Michael Warren, ’90 B.A., as well as four faculty members. We will welcome your suggestions by September 8, 2023, about faculty to consider for membership on the search committee, particularly those with administrative experience, and we will be consulting with deans on the final selection.
The search committee will benefit greatly from a robust and inclusive process. It is of the utmost importance that we actively seek input from the Yale community, and the trustees are fully committed to engaging with students, faculty, staff, and alumni. We offer this confidential webform as a first step to provide feedback at any time during the process.
The search committee will move swiftly to create additional methods for all stakeholders in the Yale community to provide input throughout the process. We expect the first of these opportunities to include listening sessions with community members to be held by the end of September.
A presidential search website with information about the search process, participants, timeline, and opportunities for community engagement is also available, and will be updated in the coming weeks.
For now, please join me and the board of trustees in thanking President Salovey and Ms. Moret for making Yale more unified as a community working for the common good, more accessible to individuals from every neighborhood around the world, more innovative in contributing knowledge and solutions to humanity’s most vexing challenges, and more excellent in its core mission of teaching, scholarship, and research.
Josh Bekenstein, ’80 B.A.