Elm and Ivy Awards To Be Given to Area Residents, Students For Enhancing Cooperation Between Yale and City of New Haven

New Haven Mayor John DeStefano Jr. and Yale President Richard C. Levin presented awards today to 13 area residents and students who have made significant contributions to strengthening the relationship between the City and the University. Among the recipients was Linda Koch Lorimer, vice president and secretary of Yale, who received a Special Elm and Ivy Award for her leadership of the Yale Office of New Haven Affairs. (See related news release about Lorimer’s award).

The Elm and Ivy Awards were established at Yale in 1979 by Fenmore R. Seton, Class of 1938, and his wife, Phyllis. The Setons created the Elm and Ivy Fund at the New Haven Foundation (now the Community Foundation for Greater New Haven) in order to identify and honor individuals whose work enhances town-gown understanding and cooperation. Since the inception of the program, 185 people have received Elm and Ivy Awards.

Elm Award Recipients

John J. Crawford is one of the community’s most far-sighted leaders. He is chairman of the Regional Growth Partnership, a member of the new Airport Authority and director of the Community Foundation for Greater New Haven. He spearheaded the effort two years ago to form a 15-town economic development organization called the Regional Growth Partnership to promote the economic health of the region.

Crawford was instrumental in securing legislative approval in the 1997 General Assembly to convert Tweed-New Haven Airport from a city-run department to a regional Authority.

Dr. Regina Lilly-Warner, principal of the Cooperative Arts and Humanities Magnet High School, has been seeking ways since the beginning of the 1996-97 school year to draw on the vast resources of Yale to support Co-op students and the school’s curriculum. She met with representatives of the University, specifically the Yale School of Music, to explore ways to build an effective, working partnership. She also arranged mentorships between Yale School of Music graduate students and Co-op student musicians, set up individualized instrumental instruction, arranged for students to attend Yale Philharmonia symphony rehearsals and concerts, and organized a visiting musical artist series at the Co-op.

Under her direction, a week-long “Winter Music Camp” was set up during the New Haven Public Schools’ 1997 Winter Recess. Yale students and faculty provided demonstrations, workshops, rehearsal time, and instruction at Yale to Co-op music students. She also worked to develop a series of teacher training seminars to develop interdisciplinary units between arts and academic disciplines and to extend the Co-op/Yale partnership to the School of Drama, Art Gallery, Peabody Museum, Center for British Art, and Schools of Art and Architecture.

William T. O’Brien Jr. is one of those people who rightly deserve the title of “Mr. New Haven.” Due to his long-standing and multiple contributions to greater New Haven, it’s no surprise that he was chosen as a Community Hero Torchbearer for the 1996 Olympic Torch Relay. This honor reflects his service to numerous organizations, including the Special Olympics, the United Way, the March of Dimes, the Greater New Haven Chamber of Commerce, and many groups in his hometown of Branford.

O’Brien is recognized for his service to Yale Athletics and its community programs and to the Southern Connecticut Conference of High School Athletics. He has done more than just about anyone else outside of Yale to bring local students to campus for sports clinics, competitions, and to watch Yale teams.

Ivy Award Recipients

Stan Wojewodski Jr., dean of the Drama School, made a commitment several years ago toward providing Drama School students with an opportunity within the curriculum for community outreach. He embarked on a plan to create the first university-based replication of the 52nd Street Project. Locally known as the Dwight Edgewood Project, the program’s goal is to provide an experience of success in a theatrical venture so that inner-city kids may sense their own value.

Paired with youngsters from Troup Middle School, Drama School students have spent time in each of the past three summers working one-on-one as mentors while their young students write plays that are fully produced on stage in front of an audience.

Katherine Edwards co-chairs the New Haven Residence Training Program, which sponsors a cooperative project designed to recruit and train New Haven residents for clerical openings at Yale. The mission of the program is to qualify participants for entry-level jobs at the University through training and scholarship assistance, and to increase diversity within Yale’s workforce.

John Temple Swing, manager of catering for Yale Dining Services, is one of the great unsung and unheralded managers at Yale who every year contributes enormously, if in unseen ways, to building strong and continuing relations between the Yale community and the broader New Haven community. He has helped organized countless events on campus and prepared food for off-campus events benefiting an extraordinary array of New Haven community organizations.

He approaches his work with calm professionalism and has proven time and again his ability to work well with all kinds of people with all kinds of needs and demands. His successful efforts as manager of catering has allowed groups and individuals to raise literally hundreds of thousands of dollars over the years for charitable causes in New Haven and beyond.

Undergraduate Ivy Award Recipients

James Garman, Ezra Stiles College at Yale, has spent his entire undergraduate career volunteering for New Haven Habitat for Humanity and as a member of the Yale College Habitat chapter. His work has included helping build several houses in the Newhallville neighborhood and raising more than $100,000 from the Habitat Cross-country Bike Challenge for the Yale Collegiate Build, which resulted in the erection of two houses built entirely by students from area colleges.

His involvement in the work of Habitat (renovating houses and helping families purchase them through sweat equity and no-interest loans) empowers families, giving them a stake in the community and a sense of place and belonging, and empowers communities as well by revitalizing and strengthening the social and physical fabric of a neighborhood. In a very real way, the interaction between Yale students and New Haven residents not only builds houses, it builds up the spirit of community as well.

Undergraduate Team Ivy Award

Terrence Reginald Solomon, Ezra Stiles College, worked as a student aide in academic year 1994-1995 and that summer was one of only 20 students, and the only freshman, chosen for the President’s Public Service Fellowship. In 1995-96, Reggie worked on a variety of projects related to strengthening the partnership between Yale and the City of New Haven.

His responsibilities for the America Reads Challenge are extremely large, including recruiting 70 student tutors; helping to arrange a three-week training program; working with the school principal and teachers on placement; maintaining a weekly payroll of more than $5,000; serving as liaison between the student tutors and the Student Employment Office; purchasing and distributing books and other materials; and providing weekly communication updates to the tutors and affiliated staff.

His supreme effectiveness in taking this program idea and making it a programmatic success is clearly evident to all of those who have visited the Timothy Dwight Elementary School, where any afternoon one will see numerous Yale student tutors working one-to-one with third graders in the school.

Julie Ann Curran, Timothy Dwight College, is one of those students and leaders who quietly works to take such national initiatives and local priorities and turn them into reality. Over the past year, she has served as one of two co-coordinators of the America Reads Challenge that brings Yale together with the Timothy Dwight Elementary School

Literacy is perhaps the most essential educational challenge facing America, and strengthening literacy is a high priority for President Clinton, Governor Rowland and Mayor DeStefano. New initiatives have been heralded to provide elementary school and younger children with a strong foundation in literacy skills. At Yale, President Levin has made the America Reads Challenge a high priority as part of the University’s overall partnerships with the citizens of New Haven.

Undergraduate Team Ivy Award

Chi Young-Tschang, Calhoun College, has been selected for an Ivy Undergraduate Award for the special vision he has of New Haven and his steadfast commitment to the improvement of the lives of the citizens of New Haven who do not have the opportunities that he has had. Furthermore, he has been an extraordinary ambassador for Yale to the New Haven community as Dwight Hall coordinator and board of directors member. He has served on the Executive Committee since 1995.

He also has been involved in Cityscape, An Exploration of New Haven’s Neighborhoods. This was an idea, conceived and initiated by Chi that systematically brought undergraduates into contact with the neighborhoods and service organizations of New Haven. He also has worked at Calhoun in supporting and/or leading two initiatives to bring New Haven leaders into contact with students – the Urban Tea program of 1995-1996 and PULL (Perspectives on Urban Learning and Leadership) during this year.

Chi Thi Nguyen, Ezra Stiles College, did extraordinary work in making Communiversity Day 1997 the outstanding event that it was for Yale students and the Greater New Haven Community. Last year’s event was one of the best in terms of attendance and activities. Chi saw to it that the nonprofit community was included and orchestrated the event to coincide with Jumpstart on the Green. She took it upon herself to train the 1998 staff and served as adviser for this year’s festivities. Chi was also the co-coordinator of the Dwight Hall Student Cabinet.

Graduate/Professional Team Ivy Award

Supermarket Project, Yale Law School and School of Management students, under the guidance of Professor Jay Pottenger, faculty advisor. The group provided extensive legal, financial and organizational consulting services to the Greater Dwight Development Corp. (GDDC). Starting with the fall term of 1996, this project has played a major role in successfully delivering New Haven’s only full-size (56,000 square feet) supermarket. The store promises to bring lower-cost, high-quality food to two of the City’s poorest neighborhoods, along with roughly 200 new jobs – many of them precisely the kind of entry-level employment opportunities needed in our City’s economy.

The student-faculty group assisted the GDDC in virtually every aspect of this development. They reviewed the economic and legal aspects of tenant leases, land acquisition, and construction costs. They drafted – and even negotiated – the financing agreements, and purchase and sale contracts for the shopping center, as well as conducting environmental, zoning and planning reviews.

Most significant was the series of “Board Workshops” they conducted for members of the GDDC board of directors in preparation for the board’s decision to participate in the shopping center deal.

Stefan Pryor, Yale Law School, served as policy adviser to the Office of the Mayor for three years, from 1994 to 1997. As a Yale graduate and now a law student, he has helped to build a bridge between the City and the University. He was instrumental in developing an anti-truancy program, which involved Yale students as mentors to teenagers in danger of dropping out of school. He also served as an alderman representing the Yale district on the Board of Aldermen, bringing Yale student concerns and the University’s expertise into his work for the Mayor’s Office.

He also serves on the Yale Club of New Haven, and is co-chairing the community relations committee that is working closely with the Secretary’s Office at Yale and the Mayor’s Office to tap into the rich network of University alumni in the area who are supporting efforts to enhance the City.

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