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Portrait of psychiatry chair unveiled

Yale Medicine Magazine, 2009 - Winter

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Benjamin S. “Steve” Bunney, M.D., professor emeritus and former chair of psychiatry, returned to Yale in October from his home in coastal Maine for the unveiling of his portrait and a celebration of his 20 years as chair.

“Steve was always a voice of clarity and rationality and steadiness,” said William H. Sledge, M.D., the George D. and Esther S. Gross Professor of Psychiatry, recalling a tumultuous time in the department some 21 years ago when Bunney assumed leadership. With Bunney as chair, Sledge said, “we continued to progress and evolve into truly one of the most outstanding departments of psychiatry in the nation and the world.”

After remarks by John H. Krystal, M.D. ’84, the Robert L. McNeil Jr. Professor of Psychiatry, who called Bunney a “wonderful mentor,” the cloth over the painting was removed to gasps and applause.

“This department has been blessed with the most amazing people,” said Bunney, “so my job was very, very easy. … I want to thank everyone here for giving me such a wonderful career.”
The portrait by Gerald P. York depicts him sitting on a laboratory table flanked by scientific images, a stethoscope, and a model sailboat—symbols of his wide-ranging interests. The Sterling Hall of Medicine appears over Bunney’s shoulder. In keeping with tradition, the portrait will hang in the departmental offices at 300 George Street alongside those of previous chairs of psychiatry.

Since retiring in early 2008, Bunney has made his home in Newbury Neck, a peninsula in Maine near Acadia National Park.