In 2013 Yale University experienced major changes and historic firsts, and it grew more global, more connected, and more accessible.
One of the biggest changes, of course, was the university’s first presidential turnover in 20 years, as Yale’s longest-serving president in recent years stepped down from office and its 23rd top administrator was inaugurated.
In honor of this presidential transition, here — in no particular order — are 23 campus and community stories from 2013.
1. Goodbye to a president
On June 30, the campus bid farewell and thank you to President Richard C. Levin, who had led the university through many changes during his 20 years in office. Among the celebrations of his service to the university was the surprise presentation of an honorary degree to Levin at Yale’s 312th commencement. Levin and his wife, Jane Levin, director of undergraduate studies in the Directed Studies program, were also among the alumni honored in November with a Yale Medal for outstanding contributions to society and the university.
2. A presidential welcome
Peter Salovey began his term in the Office of the President on July 1, and was formally inaugurated on Oct. 13 in a week-long celebration that brought top educators from around the world to campus. The events leading up to the Inauguration included visits by the new president to departments around campus; a reception for faculty and staff; a congregation of canines; academic panels and presentations, including one featuring former Yale provosts who were presidents of other institutions of higher education; and a block party open to the Yale and New Haven community. The School of Music also offered a musical celebration of “all that is Yale” on Oct. 11.
3. Nobel times two
For the first time in history, two Yale faculty members won Nobel Prizes in the same year. James E. Rothman, the Fergus F. Wallace Professor of Biomedical Sciences, and professor and chair of the Department of Cell Biology, was co-winner of the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine, while Robert Shiller, Sterling Professor of Economics, was co-winner of the Nobel Prize for Economic Sciences.
4. Historic gift from alumnus
In September, Yale announced a $250 million gift — the largest gift in the university’s history — from Charles B. Johnson, a 1954 graduate of Yale College, who retired last year as chair of the board of Franklin Resources. The gift will support the construction of two new residential colleges.
5. Renewing an architectural ‘temple of the mind’
A reconstruction and renewal project for the nave of the Sterling Memorial Library — a destination for thousands of students, scholars, and campus visitors each year — began in the summer. The project is funded by a $20 million gift from Richard Gilder ’54 and his wife, Lois Chiles, and honors former Yale president Richard C. Levin and his wife, Jane.
6. A move and a milestone for School of Nursing
The Yale School of Nursing marked a new chapter in its history on Oct. 4 when it officially dedicated its new home at the university’s West Campus. The dedication was part of a weeklong celebration of the school’s 90th birthday.
7. Classic work undergoes a ‘magical’ transformation
“Interaction of Color” — Josef Albers’ iconic book that taught legions of students and professionals alike how to think creatively about color — was given a modern makeover as an iPad app last July, just in time for the 50th anniversary of its publication by Yale University Press.
8. Applications up, outreach to low-income families
For the third year in a row, Yale College broke its own record for applications to the freshman class. The 29,790 applications for the Class of 2017 marked a 3% increase over last year’s final total of 28,977 — which, in turn, was a 5.8% increase over the previous year’s total of 27,283.
In an effort to reach out to low-income students who may not consider applying to Yale due to a misperception of its cost, the Office of Undergraduate Admissions this summer launched a new educational campaign to inform low-income families about the affordability of a Yale College education. Yale also recently partnered with Say Yes to Education, which aims to make higher education accessible and affordable to all.
9. Celebrating the city’s 375th
The exhibition Night Rainbow | Global Rainbow New Haven lit up the April sky in celebration of the 375th anniversary of the city’s founding. The milestone was also celebrated at the Alumni Assembly in November, which had as its theme “New Haven at 375, Celebrating a Remarkable City.”
10. Beinecke marks 50th year, launches new writing prize
The year-long program of activities marking the 50th anniversary of the Beinecke Rare Book & Manuscript Library included an exhibition “reimagining” architect Gordon Bunshaft’s once-controversial design.
The Beinecke also presented inaugural Windham Campbell Prizes to nine writers. The new global writer’s award was created with a gift from the late Donald Windham and his partner, Sandy M. Campbell, and is now one of the largest literary prizes in the world. Yale presented $150,000 to each winner, for a total of $1.35 million.
11. Top appointments
This year saw the appointment of jurist Margaret H. Marshall ’76 J.D. as senior trustee (making her the first non-Yale College graduate and first woman to hold that post; economics department chair Benjamin Polak as Yale provost (replacing Peter Salovey who left that post for the presidency); and alumnus Jeremiah Quinlan as dean of undergraduate admissions.
12. Yale’s continuing commitment to city youths and workforce
The non-profit New Haven Works — a joint initiative of the Board of Alderman, local employers (including Yale), labor unions, and local residents — opened its office in May; in conjunction Yale established the New Haven Community Hiring Initiatives program to connect New Haven Works candidates directly with the university’s Human Resources staffing group.
Also this year, a record number of New Haven high school seniors qualified for and accepted college scholarships as part of the New Haven Promise, a Yale-funded program that helps city residents from a public school in the city to attend college in Connecticut.
13. Stormy weather
Winter storm Nemo dropped a historic three feet of snow on the campus and the city, bringing traffic to a halt, causing widespread power outages, and prompting the university to close down for several days and encourage staff to stay home for safety reasons. Thanks to a core group of staff, however, Yale continued to provide essential services to students.
14. Hail to the champions!
The Yale men’s hockey team garnered the first NCAA win in the university’s history on April 13, beating Quinnipiac 4-0. Celebrations abounded on campus, and fans turned out in droves to welcome home the new champions. The Yale women’s volleyball team also scored their fourth consecutive Ivy League championship, and the women's tennis team took its third straight Ivy League title. The Bulldogs' co-ed sailing team also won the "unofficial" Ivy League championship in March (sailing is not an official sport in the Ivy League, but the schools with teams do compete) and also won the Team Race National Championship in May.
15. Record-breaking alumni reunions
Yale College graduates returned for their class reunions in record numbers over the weekends of May 23-26 and May 30-June 2. This year also saw the biggest reunion engagement yet by alumni/ae about reunions on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram. Other notables who returned to campus this year included former U.S. secretary of state Hillary Rodham Clinton, who received an Award of Merit at the Law School’s reunion in October; comedian Lewis Black, who received this year’s Louis Award in April; actor Paul Giamatti, who appeared as the troubled Danish prince in the Yale Repertory Theatre’s production of “Hamlet”; and the Air Force veterans who helped pioneer Chinese language study at Yale.
16. Expansion of online education
Yale took a further step into the world of online learning in May with the appointment of music professor Craig Wright to the new position of academic director of online education; the creation of a standing committee on online education; and the establishment of a partnership with Coursera to explore opportunities for massive, open online courses (MOOCs). Yale’s many online learning projects were discussed at a recent open house.
17. Another nod from Working Mother
For the fourth year in a row, Yale University was named by Working Mother magazine as one of the “100 Best Companies” in the nation. The magazine cited the representation of women in Yale’s workforce, its child care resources, and company culture/worklife, among other initiatives.
18. Shrinking environmental footprint
Yale met or is well on its way to meeting more than three-quarters of the goals set out in its Sustainability Strategic Plan for 2010–2013 — reducing the university’s environmental footprint and streamlining systems and processes to save resources, time, and money, even as the campus continues to grow, the Office of Sustainability announced in April. This fall, the office also mapped out new goals in its strategic plan for 2013-2016.
19. Developing future global leaders
Yale announced in September that it was adding a new component to its popular Yale Young Global Scholars Program, which brings rising seniors and juniors from high schools around the world to campus to live and study at Yale for two weeks. The new session is focused on science policy, particularly with respect to global health, energy, and climate, and will begin in summer 2014.
20. Rhodes and Marshall winners
Yale was again well-represented among this year’s winners of Rhodes and Marshall scholarships. Three Yale College seniors received Rhodes Scholarships, one of the highest academic honors awarded to college students, while four members of the Class of 2013 won prestigious Marshall Scholarships.
21. West Campus happenings
Yale’s West Campus saw a whirlwind of activity this year. It opened a remodeled conference center; dedicated the new home of the School of Nursing; welcomed the Jim Vlock First Year Building Project; and hosted Yale’s first official Hack-a-thon. New directors were appointed for its Systems Biology Institute and Microbial Diversity Institute, and the Yale Collection Studies Center added another art conservation specialist to the team of experts working to preserve and study Yale’s vast art, cultural heritage, and natural history collections.
22. Learning on a global scale
Students traveled to nations all around the globe this summer to study and to learn about other cultures, while students in a seminar on “Writing Tribal Histories” traveled to Canada to learn more about the indigenous cultures there.
In addition, an ambitious project to re-think liberal education began in earnest this August with the opening of Yale-NUS College, a collaboration between Yale and the National University of Singapore.
23. Saluting artistic legacies
The centennial of the graduation of composer Cole Porter (B.A. 1913) was marked this year with a variety of activities that included a performance of his musical “Kiss Me Kate.” An exhibition created by the Schools of Architecture and Drama paid tribute to the legacy of Tony Award-winning set designer Ming Cho Lee, who has taught at the Yale School of Drama for over four decades. And one of Yale’s smaller exhibitions also looked back at the work of Yale’s first university printer, Carl Purington Rollins.