Awards celebrate those strengthening bonds between Yale and city

Eleven individuals and organizations from across Yale and New Haven were recognized during the annual Seton Elm-Ivy Awards ceremony on April 8.
2024 Seton Elm-Ivy Award winners with New Haven Major Justin Elicker and Yale Office of New Haven Affairs staff

(Photo by Dan Renzetti)

A Yale professor who has worked to enhance health care offerings to New Haven residents and the founding director of a mentoring program that helps prepare local high school students for success were among 11 recipients of the 2024 Seton Elm-Ivy awards.

The awards, which are given annually, honor outstanding efforts by individuals, organizations, or programs to enhance the lives of Elm City residents and nourish the partnership between Yale and its host city. Elm Awards honor individuals from the broader New Haven community, while the Ivy awards are given to Yale staff members, faculty, or students.

During the awards ceremony, held April 8 at the Yale Schwarzman Center, special Elm and Ivy Awards were also presented to Yale President Peter Salovey, who has made increasing access to a Yale education a priority during his tenure and strengthened the university’s bonds with New Haven; Marta Moret, Yale’s “first lady” for the past 11 years, who has worked to forge connections between the university and the city and advocated for marginalized and underserved communities; and William W. Ginsberg, president and CEO of the Community Foundation for Greater New Haven and longtime advocate for the community and its nonprofits.

Recipients of the Elm Awards were Henry Fernandez, the founding executive director of LEAP (Leadership, Education, and Athletics in Partnership); the Friends Center for Children; and Douglas Hausladen, executive director of the New Haven Parking Authority.

Ivy Awards went to Derrick Gordon, an associate professor of psychiatry at Yale School of Medicine, who has worked with the city and state to enhance wellness offerings for New Haven residents; Susan Nappi, executive director of Yale’s Office of Public Health Practice; Deborah Stanley-McAulay, the associate vice president of employee engagement and workplace culture; Hannah Foley, a Yale College senior and advocate for gun violence awareness (Undergraduate Ivy Award); and a group of graduate students, research scientists, and postdoctoral associates who created the Day of Immunology, an annual event that introduces local high school students to the field of immunology (Graduate/Professional Student Ivy Award). 

Awards were presented by President Salovey and New Haven Mayor Justin Elicker.

There are many individuals at Yale and across New Haven who work to ensure that the city and university thrive,” said Alexandra Daum, Yale’s associate vice president for New Haven Affairs and University Properties.

The Seton Elm-Ivy awards are a chance to celebrate some of those individuals and the importance of their work. Thank you to all of this year's awardees for their inspiring work in the New Haven and Yale community.”

The Seton Elm-Ivy Awards were established in 1979 through the inspiration and support of Fenmore Seton ’38 and Phyllis Seton, who established an endowment at the Community Foundation for Greater New Haven to support the awards ceremony. The first Elm and Ivy Awardees were named in 1980.

The citations for this year’s winners follow:

Henry Fernandez, Elm Award

Henry Fernandez
Henry Fernandez

Every year, more than 20 Yale first-years spend the very first days of their college careers volunteering at Leadership, Education, and Athletics in Partnership, or LEAP. When they step into LEAP’s Jefferson Street office, many have only been New Haven residents for a few short hours. Their first introduction to the city comes through the time they spend with Henry Fernandez, the founding executive director of LEAP.

For over 30 years, LEAP has provided generations of Yale students with the opportunity to mentor young people from New Haven’s low-income neighborhoods and, in doing so, has helped them forge lasting relationships with the city as well. Under his leadership, LEAP’s work recently expanded to managing the new Dixwell Community ‘Q’ House, which brings an extensive array of free programming to New Haven community members of all ages, ranging from tutoring to holiday events to the weekly CitySeed Farmer’s Market.

Henry has also served as an important connector, building relationships and developing meaningful collaborations across the city. During the pandemic, he brought together over 40 youth-focused nonprofits so that they could solve problems in tandem and ensure that each organization was getting the resources it needed. He regularly creates opportunities for young people to share their opinions and needs with city and state officials. And in 2021 he served as the lead negotiator for the conversations that led Yale to increase its voluntary contributions to the city and established the Center for Inclusive Growth.

For his commitment to building bridges across the city, providing young people with the resources and encouragement that they need to thrive, and creating readily accessible programming that benefits all members of the New Haven community, Mayor Justin Elicker and President Peter Salovey present Henry Fernandez with an Elm Award.”

Friends Center for Children, Elm Award

Justin Elicker, Miriam Johnson Sutton, Allyx Schiavone, and Peter Salovey.
New Haven Major Justin Elicker, New Haven Friends Center Head of Programs Miriam Johnson Sutton, New Haven Friends Center Executive Director Allyx Schiavone, and Yale President Peter Salovey.

This past November, two single mothers moved into a brand-new housing complex in Fair Haven with their young sons. Both are early childhood educators, a chronically underpaid line of work, and moving into their new homes was exciting not just because of the fresh start and new paint smell, but also because they would be living there rent-free. This housing project is just the latest groundbreaking collaboration to come from New Haven’s Friends Center for Children, which provides early childhood care and education to children across the broader New Haven community. Friends Center pays its educators nearly $10,000 above the state average, but when leadership realized that only one out of 29 of its employees owned their home, the organization took extra steps to take care of its staff, too. In partnership with the Yale School of Architecture’s Jim Vlock First Year Building Project, it devised a plan to build five homes for 10 Friends Center educators to live in rent-free with their families as part of its Teacher Housing Initiative, which is designed to raise the total compensation of its educators.

This is just one example of the many ways that Friends Center’s impact extends far beyond educating New Haven’s youngest residents. Over the last ten years, the organization has partnered with Yale on a wide range of initiatives. For instance, since 2019, students at the School of Management have worked closely with the Friends Center to help it establish a human resources department, create a fiscal plan for the Teacher Housing Initiative, and even develop a food equity program, which is launching this year. Through this program and others — like its weekly community food pantry and a mobile library launching this fall — Friends Center and its collaborations with Yale benefit people far beyond either institution. What’s more, the organization and its leadership, notably Executive Director Allyx Schiavone, have been pioneers in advocating for the childcare and early education sectors to get the resources and attention they need.

For the care it provides to everyone within its purview and developing enduring, meaningful, and mutually beneficial partnerships with Yale, Mayor Justin Elicker and President Peter Salovey present the Friends Center for Children with an Elm Award.”

Douglas Hausladen, Elm Award

Douglas Hausladen
Douglas Hausladen

About a decade ago, there was a moment of crisis where Whitney Avenue meets Audubon Street. After several pedestrian collisions, it became clear that the intersection needed a crosswalk. When the city was slow to act on it, one resident, Douglas Hausladen, took matters into his own hands and spray painted a ‘guerrilla crosswalk’ right onto the ground. The incident impressed longtime Ward 7 Alder Bitsie Clark, who encouraged Douglas to succeed her. This was just the beginning of his contributions to the safety and vitality of New Haven’s streets.

As Ward 7 Alder, Douglas pushed for more funding for transportation, among other things. In 2014, he was named director of transportation, traffic, and parking, a role in which he has meaningfully reshaped the landscape of New Haven and Yale’s campus. Serving a city where nearly a third of households lack a car, Douglas operated on the dual principles that streets are for people as well as cars and that, in his words, ‘transportation is a civil rights issue.’ Under his leadership, the department installed New Haven’s first green bike lanes and red bus-only lanes, and he is constructing a so-called ‘bicycle superhighway’ that would run down the length of Edgewood Avenue and put New Haven on the cutting edge of bike infrastructure. He was later tapped to run the New Haven Parking Authority, a role in which he has put millions of dollars of revenue to good use.

On campus, Douglas’s efforts have made Yalies safer from traffic collisions. He coauthored a report that led to the creation of the Yale Traffic Safety Subcommittee, on which he served as a founding member, and he is also a member of the Yale Traffic Safety Coalition and the New Haven Safe Street Coalition. He has also made a point to get Yale students involved in — and excited about — city government. He has taken on generations of President’s Public Service Fellows, Dwight Hall Summer Fellows, Dwight Hall Urban Fellows, and other Yale interns and employees. He has also coached the Yale water polo team for over a decade.

Many lives have been saved and injuries avoided because of Douglas’s work. For his tireless energy, innovative thinking, and commitment to public safety and transportation equity, Mayor Justin Elicker and President Peter Salovey present Douglas Hausladen with an Elm Award.”

Derrick Gordon, Ivy Award

Derrick Gordon
Derrick Gordon

Community health and wellbeing mean something different to everyone. In a city as diverse and varied as New Haven, how do you meet everyone’s needs? Over the last 25 years, Psychiatry Professor Derrick Gordon has spearheaded a slew of initiatives that have demonstrated the importance of getting everyone involved in health initiatives and ensuring that not just the loudest voices get heard. During the spring of 2020, for example, he worked closely with the City of New Haven and the Connecticut Mental Health Center to enhance wellness offerings for the city’s residents. Rather than go the easy route, Derrick led a team that conducted focus groups with everyone from faith leaders to those reentering the community after incarceration. These conversations led to recommendations for how to make existing resources accessible and which new offerings to prioritize to help residents of New Haven stay healthy.

Across his career, Derrick has consistently prioritized a humane and equitable approach to public health. As the co-principal investigator of Compassionate Allies Saving our Streets, a City of New Haven program that supports citizens experiencing mental health difficulties, Derrick worked closely with community members to reduce police intervention in moments of mental health crisis and devise other interventions. And he has long provided clinical supervision to the staff of intervention programs that provide support for individuals convicted of domestic violence, with the goal of reducing recidivism.

Derrick has also demonstrated a longstanding commitment to improving health literacy and supporting students of all ages. For more than a decade, he has worked with New Haven Adult Education to enhance clinical and support services for students. He has collaborated with the city’s health department to secure funding from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Office of Minority Health for increasing New Haven residents’ access to health information. And he oversees clinical and support services offered by Riverside Academy, a New Haven Board of Education school for students who have struggled in other city high schools as a result of stress caused by family or community issues.

For working closely and listening carefully to stakeholders across the New Haven community and consistently seeking ways to enhance health, wellness, and opportunities for all of the city’s residents, President Peter Salovey and Mayor Justin Elicker present Derrick Gordon with an Ivy Award.”

Susan Nappi, Ivy Award

Susan Nappi
Susan Nappi

Susan Nappi, who lived in New Haven as a student and is the great granddaughter of a Yale janitor, well understands the value of bridging the town-gown divide. In her eight years at the Yale School of Public Health, and her prior work at the United Way of Greater New Haven, she has demonstrated an undeniable commitment to equity, to understanding the local community, and to improving Yale students’ and faculty members’ ability to effect positive change in partnership with the New Haven community.

Currently, Susan serves as the executive director of the Office of Public Health Practice, or OPHP, at the School of Public Health. In this role, she has fostered a number of meaningful collaborative partnerships between the school and New Haven organizations. For example, under her leadership OPHP has co-created over 100 experiential learning projects and supported 37 Health Equity Fellowships, for which she has raised over $100,000 in the last five years to alleviate financial burdens for students and community partners. She is also responsible for the Community Impact Lab, which connects public health students and faculty with volunteer activities across a growing network of community organizations, and is involved in OPHP’s new ‘Activist in Residence’ program, which brings non-public-health-trained activists into the community.

Central to Susan’s approach is her focus on forging enduring partnerships of mutual learning between students, faculty, staff, and community organizations. Under her leadership, students get the chance to apply what they’re learning in the classroom to real-life problem-solving that betters New Haven. But just as important, her emphasis on cultural humility has helped affiliates of the School of Public Health learn to value the community’s expertise.

Susan’s model of community engagement assumes best intent and actively overcoming biases, and, in doing so, paves the way for less strained and more equitable interactions between the university and the city. Just as important, it has had a lasting impact on public health students. For her relentless commitment to a community-first approach to public health education and for the lasting partnerships she has established between the School of Public Health and the city of New Haven, President Peter Salovey and Mayor Justin Elicker present Susan Nappi with an Ivy Award.”

Deborah Stanley-McAulay, Ivy Award

Deborah Stanley-McAulay
Deborah Stanley-McAulay

Deborah Stanley-McAulay understands that the people make the place. A lifelong resident of New Haven and Yale employee of almost 30 years, she has been instrumental in ensuring that the university prioritizes diversity in its hiring and do its part to participate in the city’s hiring initiatives. Currently Yale’s associate vice president of employee engagement and workplace culture, she oversees the Office of Diversity and Inclusion, the WorkLife and Child Care Programs, and the New Haven Hiring Initiative. In this capacity, she has worked tirelessly to strengthen the climate and culture of Yale and to make it an employer of choice.

In her work for Yale, Deborah has proven herself to be an important go-between for internal university departments and other organizations and agencies across the city. She and her staff work closely with the Board of Alders, other city leaders, and the campus unions to ensure that New Haven residents are being hired into roles at the university. She serves as Yale’s chief liason with its nine Affinity and Employee Resource Groups. And her team has developed outreach programs with the Dixwell Community House and many other city agencies to help see that Yale is achieving its hiring goals. Under her leadership, Yale has earned a number of awards recognizing its commitment to diverse hiring.

Bringing the Yale and New Haven communities together comes naturally to Deborah. She has served as a mentor, role model, workshop facilitator to many groups and individuals across the campus and the city. Recently, she even spearheaded a Howard/Yale football tailgate, which, by all reports, went off without a hitch! She also serves on the boards of several local organizations including Marrakech and LEAP and has worked closely with others like United Way of Greater New Haven and Dixwell Community House.

For her dedication to diverse hiring, for ensuring that employees are given the attention and opportunity to thrive, and for taking strides to bring Yale and New Haven closer together, President Peter Salovey and Mayor Justin Elicker present Deborah Stanley-McAulay with an Ivy Award.”

Hannah Foley ’24, Undergraduate Ivy Award

Hannah Foley
Hannah Foley

If you walk around the southern edge of West Rock Park on a sunny day, you may see a group of mothers gathered by a verdant garden, the New Haven Botanical Garden of Healing Dedicated to the Victims of Gun Violence. Look a little closer, and you might see a Yale undergraduate there with them. This is Hannah Foley. Since 2020, Hannah has been working with the Urban Resources Initiative on community engagement in and around the garden. Her work began when, as a FOCUS leader, she guided Yale first-years in forging relationships with next of kin ahead of the garden’s opening. But it didn’t stop there. Since then, Hannah has continued to develop her own meaningful relationships with the mothers who frequent the garden and to create a space for communal healing and remembrance.

Hannah’s time at Yale has been marked by her commitment to gun violence awareness and prevention, a cause she became dedicated to after losing her cousin to gun violence in 2019. In New Haven, she has spearheaded an educational internship program for high schoolers, giving them a platform to engage in critical conversations about their experiences with gun violence and fostering a sense of understanding, healing, and solidarity. It should come as no surprise that she plans to pursue post-graduate education related to gun violence prevention after she graduates this spring.

A first-generation Mexican American student, Hannah has also been deeply engaged in Yale’s and New Haven’s Latinx communities over the last four years. As a medical debt counselor and interpreter at HAVEN Free Clinic, she has connected Latinx families with essential resources and helped them access the care they need. She also led a research project to better understand the needs of non-English-speaking mothers and children, which led to concrete improvements within HAVEN’s operations. On campus, she has served as head peer liason at La Casa and head freshman counselor for Trumbull College.

Through it all, Hannah’s peers describe her as a compassionate friend and mentor, committed to service and deeply caring about the other members of her community. For her commitment to all of the communities she belongs to in New Haven and for her dedication to the cause of gun violence prevention, President Peter Salovey and Mayor Justin Elicker present Hannah Foley with an Undergraduate Ivy Award.”

Day of Immunology’ creators and leaders, Graduate/Professional Student Ivy

Justin Elicker, Kelli Connolly, Sasha Tabachnikova, Sarah Ohashi, Lindsey Hughes, and Peter Salovey
Mayor Elicker, Kelli Connolly, Sasha Tabachnikova, Sarah Ohashi, Lindsey Hughes, and President Salovey

Award presented to Kelli Connolly, an associate research scientist at Yale School of Medicine (YSM); Lindsey Hughes, a postdoctoral associate at YSM; and Sarah Ohashi, Sasha Tabachnikova, and Tomomi Yoshida, immunobiology students in the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences.

One Saturday in April of 2023, over 120 New Haven high schoolers gathered at Yale School of Medicine’s Anlyan Center to complete an escape room-style mission. But this time, they weren’t executing a mock museum heist or running from zombies. They were pretending to be germs escaping the human immune system. This game was one of a number of hands-on investigations that students got to participate in during the Day of Immunology.

Since 2021, Kelli Connolly and Lindsey Hughes from the School of Medicine and Sarah Ohashi, Sasha Tabachnikova, and Tomomi Yoshida, graduate students in Immunobiology, have worked together to expose hundreds of New Haven high schoolers to the field of immunology and inspire the next generation of scientists. Over Zoom and in-person, notably at the annual Day of Immunology, they have put together programming that is ambitious, engaging, and most importantly, fun. Beyond ‘invasion room,’ the ‘escape room’ style activity, students also played interactive games to learn how vaccinations can stop a pandemic from spreading and to investigate how immune cells work to kill cancer cells within the body. Other activities explored the science underpinning allergies, microbiomes, transplant medicine, and more.

But part of what makes this project so exciting is that it’s about more than just a day of fun. The goal is truly to introduce a whole new class of high schoolers to an exciting field they might otherwise know very little about. Outside of the Day of Immunology, this team has also created a website loaded with opportunities and information and a document for students that displays all of the career possibilities that await them in immunology — as well as the steps one might take to get there. They are also working with local teachers to offer parts of their curriculum, and are involved in other Yale programs for New Haven students like the Yale Pathways to Science Summer Scholars.

For the work they have put in to create a successful, sustainable set of programming that introduces students to the field of immunology and for their ongoing efforts to inspire and empower the next generation of scientists, President Peter Salovey and Mayor Justin Elicker present the creators and leaders of the Day of Immunology with the Graduate and Professional Student Ivy Award.”

William W. Ginsberg, Special Elm and Ivy Award

William W. Ginsberg
William W. Ginsberg

When Will Ginsberg moved to New Haven with his family in 1984, he didn’t have any ties to the city. He had been hired to work in City Hall as the city’s development administrator, a role in which he was responsible for all development-related activities of New Haven’s city government. Before long, he realized it was a dream come true, not just because of the role itself, but also because of the community he got to be a part of. Already, he could see how much Yale had to offer to New Haven — and vice versa. Over the last 40 years, he has made it his mission to foster that relationship, and his impact has been incalculable.

After his time in City Hall, Will became president of the Science Park Development Corporation, a not-for-profit established by Yale, the City of New Haven, and others to increase employment in the area and attract more research and technological enterprises to the city. After six years in that role — and a stint working for the Clinton administration in Washington—Will became the president and CEO of the Community Foundation for Greater New Haven in 2000, a job he has been in ever since. From the Community Foundation’s office on Audubon Street, Will has worked with organizations and people of all stripes across greater New Haven to figure out how best to support the community and its many nonprofits. They work with other funders and government institutions, and are the largest grant-maker in New Haven by a significant margin.

More often than not, this work involves partnering closely with Yale. The Community Foundation has been instrumental in the success of New Haven Promise, a scholarship and career development program that supports New Haven public school students. During the first years of the pandemic, Will’s organization worked hand-in-hand with the university to raise money for the community and keep its nonprofits afloat. And just this year, the Community Foundation started working with ClimateHaven, a decarbonization innovation hub that came out of Yale Ventures.

Will is an indispensable member of the New Haven community. He serves on numerous boards, is a longtime East Rock resident, and jokes that, because he already has a plot in Grove Street Cemetary, ‘We’re here for the long-term!’ This fall, he plans to retire from the Community Foundation, but his impact will long be apparent to all who work in and with the city’s nonprofits. For many years spent fostering the City of New Haven’s organizations and residents and for a commitment to creating lasting connections between Yale and its city, Mayor Justin Elicker and President Peter Salovey present Will Ginsberg with a Special Elm and Ivy Award.”

Marta Moret, Special Elm and Ivy Award

Martha Moret, center, with President Salovey and Mayor Elicker
Martha Moret, center, with President Salovey and Mayor Elicker

Marta Moret’s commitment to lifting up minority communities was seeded on a childhood visit to her family’s homeland in the mountains of Puerto Rico. Having been born and raised in the Bronx, she was amazed to learn that children elsewhere didn’t have access to basic preventative healthcare, like a little girl who was stuck suffering from chronic ear infections because there weren’t available medical resources to help her get better. On that visit Marta vowed to give back to her community in whatever way she could, and she hasn’t looked back since.

Since 1984, when Marta came to Yale to earn her Master’s in Public Health, that community has included New Haven. Over the last forty years she has served the university in many capacities, most notable as “First Lady” for the last 11 years, a role in which she has worked hard to forge connections between the university and the city and advocated for marginalized and underserved communities. She has also mentored public health students at Southern Connecticut University, where she is a beloved adjunct faculty member, and crusaded for reducing maternal mortality and childhood disease morbidity in communities of color across the state.

Recently, Marta also became co-chair of Fair Haven Community Health Care’s (FHCHC) first capital campaign. FHCHC serves over 34,000 predominantly minority individuals in the greater New Haven area, and in her role as capital campaign co-chair Marta has personally met with many of them to ensure that they are informed and engaged in planning for the new healthcare facility that will, hopefully, serve them.

In fun and light-hearted moments, too, Marta is an irreplaceable member of the Yale community. You can count on her to be in the stands cheering on student-athletes, men and women, no matter how cold it is. And as a devoted gardener, she has grown and donated herbs to be used by Yale Hospitality for their culinary creations. For her emphasis on the importance of good healthcare and equal opportunity for all and tireless advocacy for so many within New Haven’s diverse multicultural populations, President Peter Salovey and Mayor Justin Elicker present Marta Moret with a Special Elm and Ivy Award.”

Peter Salovey, Special Elm and Ivy Award

Yale President Peter Salovey and New Haven Mayor Justin Elicker
President Salovey and Mayor Elicker

It’s no secret that Peter Salovey has a packed schedule. As university president these last 11 years, hardly a day has gone by when he wasn’t oversubscribed. So you can imagine how his office reacted when, one day a few years ago, he asked them to redo his schedule so that he could spend part of the afternoon reading with a local student participating in New Haven Reads. ‘As a psychologist, I miss this,’ his team recalls him saying. The fancy meetings and important calls could wait. Making time to read with a young New Haven resident was a nonnegotiable.

In many ways, this instance tells you everything you need to know about Peter’s approach to leading the university. His tenure as president has been characterized by a consistent emphasis on increasing access to education — and to Yale. The numbers of Pell Grant recipients, first-generation college students, and faculty from underrepresented groups have doubled. He has appointed more women deans than any president before him. Peter has also increased support for New Haven Promise, making Yale the only university to contribute money to a Promise program, and has worked with the nonprofit to create fellowships specifically for local students going to Connecticut schools and Historically Black Colleges and Universities.

But importantly, all of Peter’s efforts to strengthen the bonds between Yale and New Haven demonstrate the importance of mutually beneficial collaboration. In 2021, he announced the capstone of these efforts, a $135 million voluntary pledge from Yale to promote inclusive growth and sustained economic development and offset the city’s loss in tax revenues for any properties Yale takes off the tax rolls. As part of this initative, he also came up with the idea for the Center for Inclusive Growth, which will help develop and implement strategies to grow the city economically for the benefit of all its residents.

The list of ways in which Peter has expanded and improved the ties between Yale and New Haven goes on and on. Having lived here since he came to Yale as a graduate student more than forty years ago, Peter’s legacy is really one fostering mutual growth and support between his home institution and his hometown. His impact is sure to leave an indelible mark on Yale and New Haven long after he steps down as president at the end of this school year. For his remarkable tenure as president of Yale, his emphasis on the importance of a rich and accessible education, and his dedication to bringing Yale and New Haven together to foster growth and innovation, Mayor Justin Elicker presents Peter Salovey with a Special Elm and Ivy Award.”

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