Yale Scientist Named Dean of Graduate School of Arts and Sciences

Susan Hockfield, professor of neurobiology at the Yale School of Medicine, has been appointed dean of the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, University President Richard C. Levin announced today.

Yale’s Graduate School is the largest of the University’s 11 graduate and professional schools. As dean, Hockfield will oversee academic and administrative policies for the school and its 2,300 students. She will succeed Thomas Appelquist, the Eugene Higgins Professor of Physics, who will return to his teaching and research responsibilities July 1, 1998.

“Professor Hockfield has been closely involved with our graduate programs in the biological sciences, and I have been impressed with her grasp of the fundamental issues concerning graduate education at Yale and around the nation,” Levin said. “I look forward to working with her to make Yale even more effective in the education of future scholars, teachers, and citizens.”

Hockfield served as Director of Graduate Studies for the Section of Neurobiology from 1986 to 1994, and has been involved with improving graduate training in the biological and biomedical sciences throughout her tenure at Yale. She has served on the Executive Committee of the Graduate School and a committee to improve linkages among the biomedical sciences. She has also had a role in the development of the new Biological & Biomedical Sciences Graduate Program, a collaboration among most of the biological science departments of the University.

Hockfield, who joined Yale as an assistant professor in 1985, said, “I am deeply honored to be entrusted with the challenge of guiding one of the world’s finest graduate schools. Yale awarded the nation’s first doctoral degree more than a century ago, and I am eager to work with our gifted students and dedicated faculty toward more ‘firsts’ for graduate education at Yale.”

Hockfield will also succeed Appelquist on the Faculty of Arts and Sciences Executive Committee, affording the committee the continued perspective of a scientist.

Before joining the Yale faculty, Hockfield was a senior staff investigator at The Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory. For the last 12 years, she has been the program director for the laboratory’s summer neurobiology program, which brings together Ph.D. candidates in the biological sciences as well as post-doctoral fellows and faculty for advanced training by leading scholars in the neurobiological sciences from around the world. Her own research focuses on the development of the mammalian brain, and her work has recently led to insights about brain tumor cells and the identification of potential methods to treat these tumors.

A graduate of the University of Rochester, Hockfield received her Ph.D. in anatomy from Georgetown University. She was elected to the governing council of the Society for Neuroscience and serves on a number of scientific advisory and editorial boards. Her awards and fellowships include the Charles Judson Herrick Award of the American Association of Anatomists for outstanding contributions by a young scientist. The new dean lives with her husband and their daughter in North Haven.

The Yale Graduate School begins its 152nd year this fall, and will welcome approximately 480 new students from among more than 4,500 applicants. The work of the Graduate School is carried on in the divisions of the Humanities, Social Sciences, and Biological and Physical Sciences. The three divisions encompass 65 departments and programs, 49 of which offer courses leading to the Ph.D. degree.

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Tom Conroy: tom.conroy@yale.edu, 203-432-1345