Yale Names Vice President for New West Campus

President Richard C. Levin has named Professor Michael Donoghue as the first Vice President for West Campus Planning and Program Development, effective October 1.

“Michael’s background as both a leading scientist and a museum director makes him uniquely qualified for this newly created position,” Levin said of Donoghue, the G. Evelyn Hutchinson Professor of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, who recently completed a five-year term as the director of the Yale Peabody Museum of Natural History.

Levin said Donoghue would be responsible for developing an overall blueprint for programmatic initiatives on the West Campus, working with faculty to develop specific details of new research programs and core facilities, and coordinating the program for library, museum and other initiatives there. Donoghue’s appointment is for three years, at which time Levin said programs at West Campus should be established to the point that they will be governed through normal academic channels, most likely ending the need for the vice presidency.

Yale announced its acquisition of the West Campus, formerly the Bayer HealthCare complex, in 2007 as part of its $1 billion commitment to strengthening science and medical research at the university. The 136-acre facility, straddling nearby Orange and West Haven, features 17 buildings that include more than half a million square feet of state-of-the-art laboratory space alone, in addition to offices, warehouses and other facilities. The West Campus will greatly expand on the biomedical research conducted at Yale and will serve as a nexus for interdisciplinary research programs addressing crucial issues affecting human health and quality of life.

Donoghue joined the Yale faculty in 2000, serving as chair of the Ecology and Evolutionary Biology Department from 2001 to 2002. He also holds faculty appointments in Yale’s Department of Geology and Geophysics and in the School of Forestry and Environmental Studies. After completing his undergraduate degree at Michigan State University, he obtained his Ph.D. from Harvard and has served on the faculties of San Diego State University, the University of Arizona and Harvard.

Since joining the Yale community, Donoghue has been a member of dozens of scientific committees, including that of the Yale Institute for Biospheric Studies, the Environmental Science Center Committee, the Biological Sciences Advisory Committee and the Yale Center for International and Area Studies, in addition to serving on the board of directors for New Haven’s International Festival of Arts and Ideas.

His research, which has taken him to Latin America and China, focuses on the diversity and evolution of plants. A leader in the movement to reconstruct the entire Tree of Life, he has authored more than 180 scientific papers and received some 40 research grants. For the past decade he has played a prominent role in DIVERSITAS, an international scientific organization focused on biodiversity and global change. In addition to his outstanding research, he has supervised dozens of graduate students and has served on several national scientific councils and committees throughout his career. He was a Senior Mellon Fellow at the Smithsonian Institution from 1992-1994 and became a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science in 1997. In 2005 he was elected to the U.S. National Academy of Sciences and, in 2008, as a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.