More news of Yale people


After a year and a half as interim master of Jonathan Edwards College, Penelope Laurans will have no more qualifiers in her title: she has been appointed master for a four-year term. Laurans, who came to Yale in 1973, teaches the history of English versification and has served in a variety of administrative roles. She is currently a special assistant to the president and an associate dean of Yale College. She was appointed interim master after music professor Richard Lalli ’80MusM, ’86MusAD, suffered a brain hemorrhage in December 2008, just before he was to take over as master. Lalli has returned to teaching, but decided not to take up the mastership because he is still recovering.



For the first time since 1989, a Yale student placed in the top five at the national William Lowell Putnam Mathematics competition. Xiaosheng Mu ’13 studied all fall for the competition, which tests advanced mathematics and problem solving in a six-hour exam. The Putnam does not rank the finishers; each gets a $2,500 prize. Mu, who told the Yale Daily News he has a “zeal for math,” also won a gold medal in the 2008 International Math Olympiad in Madrid.


Stepping down

Yale police chief James Perrotti announced in March that he will retire at the end of June. Perrotti, who has been chief since 1998 and has worked for the Yale Police throughout his 37-year law enforcement career, was lauded in an e-mail by Secretary Linda Koch Lorimer ’77JD for modernizing the department and for his oversight of several high-profile investigations. His name and face are well known on campus through his regular “Message from Chief Perrotti” e-mails detailing campus crime incidents. Former New Haven police chief James Lewis has been appointed interim chief.



Seymour B. Sarason, a psychology professor who studied how social relationships influence behavior, died on January 28. He was 91. Sarason, who was the IBM Professor of Urban Education, is credited with helping to establish the field of community psychology. He published more than 40 books and taught for more than 40 years at Yale, where he founded the Psycho-Educational Institute. Much of Sarason’s work focused on education and childhood development, but he also studied how community support influences disabled, mentally ill, and elderly populations. 

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