Vice President Bruce Alexander to retire in June
Bruce Alexander ’65 will retire in June 2018 from his role as vice president for New Haven and state affairs and campus development, President Peter Salovey announced.
“In a remarkable 20 years of service to this university, Bruce has played a major role in the revitalization of New Haven, helped shape and steward our campus, and built valuable partnerships with local and state communities,” wrote Salovey in an email announcing Alexander’s retirement. “I am pleased that Bruce has agreed to stay at the university on a part-time basis to work on special projects for our community.”
Alexander was appointed in 1998 as Yale’s first vice president of New Haven and state affairs. His role has expanded to include oversight of campus facilities planning, construction, and operations. He has worked with partners in local and state government, as well as community leaders and organizations, to bring jobs, resources, and greater prosperity to the city of New Haven, said Salovey.
Thanks to Alexander’s leadership, “Yale and New Haven are enjoying the benefits of careful planning and thoughtful investments in our community and its people,” said Salovey. “In recent years, New Haven has experienced a wonderful renaissance: new retail, dining, and cultural attractions help make our campus and surrounding neighborhoods exciting places to live and visit, and the university has been a leader in this effort.”
Under Alexander’s direction, Yale University Properties, which manages the university’s commercial projects, has made a significant contribution to the city’s revitalization through its community investment program, said Salovey, adding that the program also has made Yale one of the largest real estate taxpayers in the city of New Haven. Through the Shops at Yale merchants’ group, national retailers — such as Apple, Patagonia, and soon-to-open L.L. Bean — “are flourishing alongside local, independent merchants and restaurateurs in over 100 storefronts,” said Salovey. “These retail and dining districts, including Broadway, the Chapel Street Historic District, and the Whitney Avenue Arts District, provide jobs and city taxes as well as help to create safe and vibrant neighborhoods.”
Alexander has steered Yale’s physical growth and campus development “with tremendous wisdom and foresight, bringing his deep understanding of the university’s mission and legacy to every decision and opportunity,” said the President.
Alexander negotiated the purchase of the 136-acre Bayer complex—today Yale West Campus, the university’s home for cutting-edge, scientific, medical, and interdisciplinary research. He brought key leadership and expertise to the planning and construction of two new residential colleges. In partnership with the Dixwell and Newhallville neighborhoods, Alexander led the development of the Rose Center, containing the Yale Police department, and a community learning center and meeting space; the Yale Health and New Haven Reads buildings; and an expanded Scantlebury community park — all anchored by new university commitments to nearby Science Park. He acquired for the university two blocks of Wall Street, which will be closed and landscaped to improve the pedestrian experience in the heart of campus.
“Understanding the symbiotic relationship between New Haven and Yale, Bruce cultivated several key partnerships with our host city,” said Salovey, describing Alexander as “a tremendous ambassador for Yale” who has “worked productively with mayors, alders, state officials, and community members to accomplish shared goals.” Under Alexander’s leadership, the Yale Homebuyer Program has grown, helping university employees purchase homes and stabilizing city neighborhoods. With the Yale unions, he established New Haven Works to help city residents find employment at the university and throughout the region. At the state level, he has served as chair of the Transportation Strategy Board for the State of Connecticut as well as on the state’s Commission for Fiscal Stability and Economic Growth.
“Bruce has always understood the importance of Yale’s investment in the city’s youngest residents,” said Salovey. During his tenure, Yale established New Haven Promise, which provides college scholarships for the city’s eligible public school students. Through partnerships with New Haven public schools and in summer and school-year enrichment programs, such as Pathways to Science and Pathways to Arts & Humanities, Alexander and his team “have developed new and creative ways for the Yale community to contribute to the lives of young people in our city,” said Salovey.
A resident of Berkeley College as an undergraduate, Alexander earned his law degree from Duke University. He returned to Yale after retiring from the Rouse Company in Baltimore. At Rouse, he led the division that developed major revitalization projects across the United States, including Harborplace in Baltimore and Faneuil Hall Marketplace in Boston. At Yale, in addition to his other administrative responsibilities, Alexander served on two occasions as acting vice president for finance and administration; he assumed responsibility for Yale Hospitality and its bargaining unit employees in 2015; and he has taught courses in real estate as an adjunct professor at the Yale School of Management.
Alexander and his late wife, Christine, were active in civic and philanthropic efforts in Baltimore, and they continued their devotion to community engagement in New Haven. Alexander helped found and now chairs the board of Market New Haven, an organization dedicated to promoting the city and creating events to support downtown. He has served on many boards including the International Festival of Arts and Ideas, Yale New Haven Hospital, and the Community Foundation. He has been honored with the Community Leadership Award from the Greater New Haven Chamber of Commerce, the “Communiversity Award” from the Black and Hispanic Caucus of the Board of Alders, the Mory’s Cup Award for “conspicuous service to Yale,” and the Yale Athletics George H. W. Bush Lifetime of Leadership Award. Along with Christine Alexander, the volunteer founder and executive director of New Haven Reads, he received the Alexis de Tocqueville Award from the United Way for their philanthropic contributions to the community.
When Alexander retires the areas that reported to him will be overseen by Jack Callahan, senior vice president for operations, and Alex Dreier, senior vice president for institutional affairs, general counsel, and senior counselor to the president. Lauren Zucker, associate vice president for New Haven affairs and University Properties, will assume responsibility for New Haven affairs; John Bollier, associate vice president for facilities, will have oversight of campus planning and facilities; and Rafi Taherian, associate vice president for Yale Hospitality, will continue to lead Yale’s dining and hospitality operations. They will report to Callahan. Richard Jacob, associate vice president for federal and state relations, will carry on Alexander’s work with the state of Connecticut under Dreier’s direction.
“In closing,” said Salovey, “I want to express my deepest appreciation to Bruce for his outstanding service to Yale. For years to come, our students, faculty, and staff will benefit from his wise leadership and the many ways he has strengthened our campus and community. I know you join me as I wish Bruce all the best in his well-deserved retirement …”.