Yale’s President steps down as Provost steps up

Richard C. Levin leaves a legacy of progress at the School of Medicine, while Provost Peter Salovey is tapped to succeed him.

Also in this issue:

  • Alumni gather at events around the country

Dear Fellow Alumni,

Early this month I was fortunate to return to campus for the Yale Alumni Association’s Assembly on volunteering in the global community. On the second day of the assembly our featured lunch speaker in University Commons was President Richard C. Levin, who announced in August his decision to retire after leading the university for the past 20 years. At previous assemblies President Levin has typically provided an update of the last 12 months, but this time, noting that it would be his last appearance before this gathering, he offered an assessment of his two decades in office. Among the advances that Yale has made under his tenure are improved relations with the city of New Haven, new relationships around the world as Yale becomes a global institution, long overdue repairs and renovations to Yale facilities, and improved financial aid and increased access to deserving students.

As I listened to President Levin speak, I couldn’t help thinking that these advances are also reflected at the School of Medicine. Rick Levin has been very supportive of the medical school in many ways, renovating and adding to our facilities, encouraging innovation in medical education, and promoting science and medicine at Yale. His tenure has seen the greatest investments in biomedical science in its history—investments that led to new labs and core technological facilities that form the infrastructure for modern biomedical science. This period also saw construction of The Anlyan Center for Medical Research and Education—at 457,000 feet the largest academic building in university history—as well as the 120,000-square-foot Amistad Street Building. In 2007 Yale bought the former Bayer Healthcare North American pharmaceutical headquarters in West Haven. The site, now known as West Campus, added close to 500,000 square feet of new, pristine lab space, and made it possible to create core facilities and research centers. 

This luncheon also provided an opportunity for alumni to get to know Provost Peter Salovey, who I believe shares President Levin’s support for medicine and science. A day earlier, the Yale Corporation announced its selection of Salovey to succeed President Levin. Salovey earned his doctorate in psychology at Yale and, before becoming provost, he served as chair of psychology, dean of the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, and Dean of Yale College. He also has longstanding ties with the schools of medicine and public health, having done research in AIDS prevention and serving as deputy director of the Center for Interdisciplinary Research on AIDS.

That evening, at his last Yale Medal dinner, President Levin spoke movingly of one of this year’s six recipients, David Swensen, Ph.D. ’80, who oversees the Yale endowment and received a standing ovation. Swensen, President Levin said, was the wind behind his back. It was truly a memorable assembly.

As alumni, we offer our thanks to President Levin and our best wishes to Peter Salovey for a successful presidency.

Alumni meet at events from New York to Silicon Valley

Gatherings around the country are among several ways that alumni can stay connected with one another and with Yale. Last summer I shared ways, both in person and virtually via the web and social media, in which we can stay connected. This fall YSM alumni gathered from the east coast to the west in ways that I highlight now:

The Yale Club of New York City and American Friends of the Weizmann Institute (Israel) co-sponsored a panel discussion in September, “Prostate Cancer: Hope for the Future. ” Peter Schulam, M.D., Ph.D., Chair of the YSM Department of Urology, moderated the session and the Q&A that followed.
  • In Chicago, local alumni and those attending the American College of Surgeons annual meeting gathered for a reception hosted by Robert Udelsman, M.D., M.B.A., Chair of the YSM Department of Surgery. 
  • Boston area alumni welcomed their new colleagues from the Class of 2012 with a reception and to hear a talk by David Blumenthal, M.D., incoming president of The Commonwealth Fund and Samuel O. Thier Professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School, “Connections and Career Development: Boston, The White House, and The Commonwealth Fund.” 
  • The Yale Club of Silicon Valley co-hosted a talk with Fred Volkmar, M.D., Irving B. Harris Professor of Child Psychiatry, Pediatrics, and Psychology and Director of the Yale University Child Study Center on “Advances in Autism: Understanding the Social Brain.” 
  • Palm Beach area alumni visited with John Krystal, M.D. ’84, Chair of the Department of Psychiatry, where he shared new developments in research and training in Yale Psychiatry. 
  • San Francisco heard updates on the YSM Curriculum Rebuild Project from Nancy R. Angoff, M.P.H. ’81, M.D. ’90, Associate Dean for Student Affairs, and Michael L. Schwartz, Ph.D., Associate Dean for Curriculum, during a reception held in conjunction with the annual meeting of the American Association of Medical Colleges. 
  • Michael Schwartz also hosted a gathering with Denver area alumni last week to talk about the curriculum rebuild project and demonstrate the use of iPads in medical education at Yale. Under Dr. Schwartz’s guidance, YSM was named a “Standout School” this summer for the use of iPads at YSM.
I am particularly pleased that our network of alumni outreach has led to collaborations on events with other members of the greater AYA. I urge you to consider opportunities to participate in activities with the greater Yale alumni community in your area.

I also wish to thank the local volunteers who have helped find sites for these events, make arrangements for visiting faculty, and encourage alumni to attend. If you are interested in helping with an event in your area, or reconnecting with one another during your reunion weekend, please be in touch with me via the alumni office at ayam@yale.edu. It is through the participation of our members that our activities and connections will continue to grow.


Christine A. Walsh, M.D. ’73
President, AYAM

First photo: (L-R) Peter Salovey, Ph.D. '86 and Richard C. Levin, Ph.D. '74 at the AYA assembly luncheon. Photo credit: Mike Marsland
Second photo: Alumni participated in a demonstration of the use of iPads in medical education during the reception in San Francisco. Photo credit: Debby Jagielow

The Alumni Bulletin is a regular message from AYAM President, and distributed to members of the AYAM periodically throughout the year. This may be found on the Alumni & Friends website at https://medicine.yale.edu/alumni/news/bulletin/index.aspx. Write to the Alumni Office at ayam@yale.edu.