Linda Koch Lorimer Receives Special Elm and Ivy Award
Vice President and Secretary of Yale University Linda Koch Lorimer was the recipient today of a Special Elm and Ivy Award for her contributions to economic and human development in New Haven as well as to neighborhood revitalization.
While Elm and Ivy Awards generally are reserved for Yale students or City residents, the special award typically is given to a Yale administrator for notable contributions to the City. Lorimer joined a dozen other Elm and Ivy Award recipients at a luncheon, where awards were bestowed by New Haven Mayor John DeStefano Jr. and Yale President Richard C. Levin. (See related news release with names of other winners).
According to the award citation, Levin announced in 1993 when he became president that town-gown relations would be among the University’s highest priorities, and he recruited Lorimer to lead that effort. First, she developed a strategic framework for the University’s relations with the community, ensuring that Yale “would not only do more but do it better.” She created the Office of New Haven Affairs and University Properties, and introduced these initiatives:
- The Yale Homebuyer Program, which has helped more than 300 Yale employees purchase homes in New Haven with cash incentives of $2,000 a year for up to 10 years, plus a closing bonus of $5,000.
- New, comprehensive partnerships with the New Haven Public Schools, including support for efforts at Career and Co-op high schools, East Rock Magnet School, and Timothy Dwight Elementary School.
- A multi-faceted partnership with the Dwight/Edgewood neighborhood that has attracted significant funding from the federal government.
- A strengthened commitment to technology transfer and biotechnology.
- New investments in the downtown area, including the Shubert Theatre, Broadway shopping area, and the Town Green Special Service District.
Lorimer, a Yale-trained attorney who worked at Yale as assistant general counsel and assistant provost before becoming president of Randolph-Macon Women’s College in Virginia (1987-1993), was described by the late Yale President A. Bartlett Giamatti as the University’s top “utility infielder.” The award citation noted that those in the University and the City who have worked with her since 1993 would add several more titles, including “head coach, chief field scout, play-by-player announcer and color commentator, and, when necessary, designated hitter.”
Lorimer pursued her efforts on behalf of Yale and the City with characteristic zeal, untiring commitment and unflagging optimism, according to the citation, thus motivating and inspiring her colleagues within the University while encouraging other partners in the public, private, and nonprofit sectors. “She has been an entrepreneur par excellence,” the citation continues. “Having seen the Office of New Haven Affairs grow and become well-established, she has now turned over the reins of this thriving operation to Bruce Alexander [new vice president for City and state affairs] as she returns to other continuing responsibilities and new duties within Yale.”
Lorimer received the Special Elm-Ivy Award for “her efforts that embody Yale’s finest traditions of education for service and leadership, and for her inspired efforts to help Yale prepare for its future with positive and strengthened relations with its neighbors in New Haven,” the citation concludes.