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Former British prime minister Tony Blair will be on campus next year as a Howland Distinguished Fellow. View full image


 Former British prime minister Tony Blair takes his faith seriously: he converted from Anglicanism to Catholicism after leaving office, and he is starting a "faith foundation" to promote harmony among religions. Faith and globalization are the subjects of a seminar Blair will lead at Yale in the next academic year when he is on campus as a Howland Distinguished Fellow. The course will be taught with other Yale professors, so Blair will likely be on campus only once every two weeks. Blair's son Euan will receive a master's degree in international relations from Yale this spring.


The Yale Corporation—the university's 19-member board of trustees—has appointed two new members: banker Douglas A. Warner III '68 and economist Paul L. Joskow '72PhD.Warner is a former chair of J. P. Morgan Chase & Co., and a friend and classmate of Roland Betts '68, the Corporation's senior fellow. (He was a candidate for alumni trustee last year, but the alumni elected Mimi Gates '81PhD instead.) Joskow was an economics professor at MIT for 35 years before becoming the president of the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation—a $1.8 billion organization that gives grants for research and education—earlier this year. They will succeed former Stanford president Gerhard Casper '62LLM and business consultantCharles Ellis '59.


Serene Jones '85MDiv, '91PhD, the Titus Street Professor of Theology, will leave Yale this summer to take the helm of the Union Theological Seminary in New York, a leading liberal Christian seminary. Jones, a feminist theologian who currently chairs Yale's women's, gender, and sexuality studies program, will be the first female president of the seminary. She has taught at Yale since 1991.


Pulitzer Prize-winning New York Times reporter Linda Greenhouse '78MSL spent nearly 30 years covering the Supreme Court, becoming so influential that wags coined the term "Greenhouse Effect" (a phenomenon in which judges tailor their opinions for approval by the liberal media). Now she's coming back to the place where she got her bona fides as a legal reporter, the Yale Law School. Next year, Greenhouse will return as the Knight Distinguished Journalist-in-Residence and Joseph M. Goldstein Fellow. She will advise the Law School's new Law and Media Program as well as work on her own research on the Court and constitutional law.



You may think you did all right in algebra, but University of Florida math professor John Griggs Thompson '55 was just awarded $600,000 for "profound achievements" in the discipline. Thompson and Jacques Tits of the College de France are co-winners of the 2008 Abel Prize for mathematics, awarded by the Norwegian government (which established the Abel in 2002 as a mathematics counterpart to the Nobel). Thompson and Tits were cited for shaping modern group theory, which, among other things, helps to reveal the secrets of a Rubik's cube. Thompson holds a prestigious Fields Medal in math and an honorary doctorate from Yale.


A new endowed chair in the English department has been named in honor of retired professor Marie Borroff '56PhD.English professor Roberta Frank, a scholar of medieval European literature, has been appointed to the chair. Borroff, known best for her research on the "Pearl poet" of the fourteenth century, was the first woman to be appointed a professor of English at Yale, one of the first two women to receive tenure in the Faculty of Arts and Sciences, and the first woman to be named a Sterling Professor, Yale's highest faculty honor. She is also a published poet.


The Yale Black Men's Union named Gwendolyn Sykes, Yale's chief financial officer, as its "Woman of the Year" at the group's inaugural Tribute to Black Women. Two Yale graduates were named "Distinguished Alumnae": Kimberly Goff-Crews '83, '86JD, the dean of students at the University of Chicago; and Elizabeth Alexander '84, a Yale English professor and prize-winning poet. The Black Men's Union was founded in fall 2007 to support and bring together black men on Yale's campus.


The Gates Foundation will pick up the tab for two Yale seniors to go to the University of Cambridge next year as winners of the Gates Cambridge Scholarship. Joshua Batson '08 plans to study for a one-year master's degree in mathematics. Molly Fox '08 will spend three years in England in pursuit of a doctorate in biological anthropology.


Emily Morell '09 and Nathan Segal '08 were named to the USA Today All-USA College Academic Team for 2008. The newspaper annually honors 20 full-time college students for academic excellence and work outside the classroom. Morell established a nonprofit called Gardens of Health to start community gardens for HIV/AIDS patients in Rwanda. Segal has worked to help patients get access to low-cost medications.  

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