Heads of colleges reappointed at Timothy Dwight, Saybrook and Morse

Mary Lui, Thomas Near, Catherine Panter-Brick
Mary Lui, left, Thomas Near, and Catherine Panter-Brick.

President Peter Salovey has announced the reappointment of three heads of residential colleges: Mary Lui at Timothy Dwight (TD), Thomas Near at Saybrook (SY), and Catherine Panter-Brick at Morse (MC). They will begin their new five-year terms on June 30.

Mary Lui

Mary Lui — Timothy Dwight College

Lui, professor of American studies and history, is a “warm and engaging” leader who has created “a welcoming educational environment for TD students,” said Salovey.

Lui’s reappointment was “strongly recommended” by a review committee chaired by David Post, professor of ecology and evolutionary biology, said Salovey. The committee also included Vera Wells ’71, Vivek Katara ’20, Maya Kerfoot ’22, and Angel Mora ’21.

Students and colleagues noted that she is thoughtful, empowering, and inclusive in her role as head of college. She and Vincent Balbarin, the associate head of college, are invested profoundly in TD and care deeply for the students,” Salovey said.

Lui’s research and teaching focuses on Asian American history, urban history, women and gender studies, and public history. Her first book, “The Chinatown Trunk Mystery: Murder, Miscegenation, and Other Dangerous Encounters in Turn-of-the-Century New York City,” was awarded a 2007 best book prize for history from the Association of Asian American Studies.

Thomas Near

Thomas Near — Saybrook College

Near, professor and chair of ecology and evolutionary biology, and Allison Murray Near, associate head of college, have together “created an intellectually stimulating and supportive environment” at Saybrook College, said Salovey.

Near’s reappointment was “strongly endorsed” by a review committee of SY community members, Salovey noted. “In its report to us, the committee emphasized how Professor Near, famous for his enthusiasm and energy, was a warm, friendly, and caring leader deeply invested in getting to know and supporting all Saybrugians. It also made special mention of the many students he has guided through difficult circumstances and of his support for affinity groups.” The committee was chaired by Holly Rushmeier, the John C. Malone Professor of Computer Science, and included Denzil Streete, Mary Callanan ’22, Brandon Lopez ’21, Alex Lusak ’20, and Joaquín Lara Midkiff ’23.

As an evolutionary biologist, Near studies the complex interplay of fish species around the world and their importance to the biodiversity of our planet. His research team has done field studies in the southeastern United States, islands in the Caribbean, and Antarctica. He also serves as curator of the fish collection at the Peabody Museum of Natural History.

Catherine Panter-Brick

Catherine Panter-Brick — Morse College

Panter-Brick, professor of anthropology, health and global affairs, is “a community builder,” who students describe as “caring, supportive, and profoundly sincere in her interactions with them,” said Salovey.

A review committee of Morse community members, chaired by Scott Miller, the Irénée du Pont Professor of Chemistry, “wholeheartedly recommended” Panter-Brick’s reappointment, said Salovey. The committee also included Onyx Brunner ’20, Eugenio Garza ’23, Paula Kavathas, Sonia Lingos-Utley ’21, and Amy Ren ’22.

In its report, the committee “lauded Professor Panter-Brick, Associate Head of College Mark Eggerman, and their entire family for being consistently thoughtful and present in Morse College life,” said Salovey. “Fellows were deeply appreciative of Professor Panter-Brick’s friendliness and camaraderie, and they praised the intellectual interactions at formal and informal gatherings at Morse. Staff members admired her drive for excellence and her ability to balance seriousness and compassion when leading the residential college,” said Salovey.

Panter-Brick holds faculty appointments in the Department of Anthropology, the Jackson Institute for Global Affairs, and the School of Public Health. Her research at Yale focuses on human health and resilience in the face of adversity. As an anthropologist, she works on mental health, violence, and well-being among populations faced with poverty, famine, war, and social marginalization.

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