Betsy Bradley named Vassar president: 'visionary researcher, beloved teacher'

Elizabeth (Betsy) Bradley, the Brady-Johnson Professor of Grand Strategy, head of Branford College, professor of public health, and faculty director of the Global Health Leadership Institute, has been named as the next president of Vassar College. She will remain at Yale through the end of this academic year.

Elizabeth (Betsy) Bradley (Photo by Michael Marsland)

“This news is both tremendously exciting — reflecting, as it does, Professor Bradley’s place as a highly respected academic leader and expert scholar of global health — and undeniably bittersweet for Yale,” said President Peter Salovey in announcing the news. “She has enriched immeasurably the life of our campus community and will be missed as a visionary researcher, beloved teacher, wise mentor, trusted leader, and invaluable colleague.”

Bradley came to Yale 25 years ago as a doctoral student in health economics after earning her A.B. from Harvard and M.B.A. from the University of Chicago.

“From her arrival on our campus, she has been a champion for innovation and interdisciplinary collaboration,” said Salovey. In 2009 she founded the Global Health Leadership Institute, drawing on and reinforcing the strengths of programs in global health research, education, and practice from across the university and beyond. The institute has gained international recognition for its work connecting faculty at Yale with researchers, practitioners, and policymakers around the world. With Bradley’s leadership, Yale also launched the Global Health Scholars, an interdisciplinary undergraduate program combining coursework and field practice.

Bradley has published more than 300 peer-reviewed papers and co-authored three books, most recently, “The American Healthcare Paradox: Why Spending More is Getting Us Less.” Since 2015 she has served as director of the Brady-Johnson Program in Grand Strategy.

In addition to her academic leadership, Bradley has contributed to undergraduate life at Yale. She was appointed as head of Branford College in 2011, and she and her family — husband, John Bradley, and children, Alice, Kate, and Tim — “are beloved by Branford students and fellows,” noted Salovey. She has been praised for helping students start the Branford Tea Room, leading the college to an undefeated intramural squash season in 2012, strengthening the graduate affiliates program, overseeing the refurbishment of the pottery and art rooms, and generally nourishing Branford’s strong sense of community.

At Vassar, Bradley will follow in Yale footsteps, succeeding Catharine (Cappy) Bond Hill ’85 Ph.D., alumni fellow of the Yale Corporation since 2013, who stepped down from the Vassar presidency last year after a decade heading up one of the most renowned liberal arts colleges in the country.

“We will keep you updated on our plans for identifying successors to oversee the many areas of the university that have benefited from Professor Bradley’s exemplary leadership,” said Salovey. “For now, please join me in congratulating her on her next professional chapter, and in offering our profound gratitude for her tremendous service to Yale.”

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