School Notes

School notes

A supplement to the Yale Alumni Magazine from the fourteen schools of Yale.

School of Architecture

Robert A. M. Stern, Dean

Alumna to design grounds at Washington Monument

New York–based architects Weiss/Manfredi and Philadelphia-based landscape architects OLIN have been named the winners of the National Mall Design Competition for the Washington Monument grounds in Washington, DC. “Our vision for the Sylvan Theater at the Washington Monument grounds elevates the performing arts, literally and figuratively, with a new amphitheater landform shaded by a canopy of trees that affirms this site as our nation’s center stage,” partners Marion Weiss ’84MArch and Michael Manfredi wrote. Extending from the heart of the National Mall, a rejuvenated Sylvan Theater and new Sylvan Grove will restore the tree canopy that inspired the name of the original theater nearly a century ago. An integral part of the plan is a pavilion with an all-weather café and bookstore, a new ranger station, and an information/exhibition center on Independence Avenue that will frame an arrival plaza for tour groups.

High-tech library wins award

Joel Sanders, adjunct professor of architecture at YSoA and principal of the New York–based firm Joel Sanders Architect, has won the 2012 ALA IIDA Award for his design of Princeton University’s Julian Street Library, a wired multimedia environment for students that includes a traditional reading room and state-of-the-art media center. The biennial award is jointly issued by the American Library Association and the International Interior Design Association in recognition of excellence in library design.

Alums honored for classical design

Two YSoA alumni have won 2012 Arthur Ross Awards for Excellence in the Classical Tradition from the Institute of Classical Architecture & Art (ICAA). The award
for architecture was given to Hammond Beeby Rupert and Ainge Architects (HBRA).
This Chicago firm, whose principals include former dean and adjunct professor Thomas Beeby ’65MArch, designs projects that range from residential to civic master plans and historic renovations. Marc Appleton ’72MArch was awarded the Board of Directors Honor,
in recognition of his “love of classical forms—paired with an interest in regional California styles.” An author, teacher, and ICAA trustee emeritus, Appleton has helped launch multiple ICAA chapters across the country.


School of Art
Robert Storr, Dean

Alumna speaks at Commencement

Kenyan-born artist Wangechi Mutu ’00MFA was the featured speaker at the School of Art’s diploma ceremony this past May. Mutu, who currently resides in Brooklyn, New York, is an award-winning artist whose works have been exhibited in museums around the world. Her work has been described as “a visceral response to personal and social critiques of gender, culture, and mass media imagery. Exploring the female body as a site of engagement and provocation, her figures are lurking hybrids that possess an abject yet alluring beauty.” Her work is included in the collections of the Museum of Modern Art, New York; the Whitney Museum of American Art; the Studio Museum in Harlem; the Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago; the Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles; the Montreal Museum of Contemporary Art; and Tate Modern in London.

New studio space at Norfolk

Programs at the Norfolk Summer School of Art took over the Art Barn this summer at the Ellen Battell Stoeckel Estate in Norfolk, Connecticut. The old estate stables had previously been converted to practice rooms for music and were partially used by art programs for gallery space, critique room, print shop, and drawing room. Now the barn houses group and individual studio space for the 26 students enrolled in the summer program. The 2012 summer school took place from May 19 to July 1.


Yale College
Mary E. Miller, Dean

Yale Latinos gather on campus

The second Latino Alumni Reunion, held on campus the weekend of April 21, brought Latino alumni to New Haven from all over the country to hear talks by, among others, Quiara Hudes ’99, the first Latina Pulitzer Prize winner; Cathy J. K. Sandoval ’84, the first Latina commissioner of California Public Utilities and first Latina Rhodes Scholar in the US; and Carlos Moreno ’70, former California Supreme Court justice. A special visit by Dolores Huerta, a prominent Mexican American civil rights leader, capped off the weekend, which was declared “Yale Latino Weekend in New Haven” by the city. An exhibit highlighting the struggles and accomplishments of Yale’s Latinos was displayed from April to June at Sterling Memorial Library.

Writing tutor wins international fellowship

Cathy Shufro, the Berkeley College Writing Tutor, recently won a fellowship from the International Reporting Project. This prestigious award allowed Shufro to spend the spring in Thailand, reporting on global health issues. Cathy has extensive writing credits in the fields of health care, medicine, and science; her articles have appeared in the Yale Alumni Magazine as well as in the New York Times. There are twelve Bass writing tutors, one in each residential college; their role is to assist Yale students with whatever writing projects they have, from fellowship applications to senior projects. The program, which is supported by continuing gifts from the Bass family, began in the late 1970s and currently averages over 4,000 tutorials per year.


Divinity School
Harold W. Attridge, Dean

YDS deemed “sexually healthy”

Three years ago, Yale Divinity School was not to be found on a list of ten theological institutions deemed “sexually healthy and responsible” by the Religious Institute, a Westport, Connecticut–based organization “dedicated to advocating for sexual health, education, and justice in faith communities and society.” But YDS has now made its way onto the institute’s updated list of 20 sexually healthy and responsible institutions, released publicly in a report earlier this year. “As the report reveals, we are doing well with integrating course work on human sexuality and healthy professional boundaries, courses in sexual ethics, women in religious traditions and faith traditions, and sexual abuse,” observed Associate Dean of Academic Affairs Emilie Townes.

Dean on CBS’s Sunday Morning

Dean Harold Attridge appeared Easter morning on CBS’sSunday Morning show for a segment on the new Shroud of Turin book entitled The Sign, by Thomas de Wesselow. Attridge said, “It could well be the burial cloth of Jesus—I wouldn’t discount that possibility. That’s part of the case that he makes; the other part is trying to see how the discovery of this cloth might have functioned in generating belief about the resurrection, and that’s much more, in my mind, conjectural.”

Take two: YDS joint degree programs

Luke the Evangelist started out a physician. John Calvin trained in the law. Gregor Mendel had his pea plants. The idea of combining theological pursuits with other disciplines is not a new one. Yet YDS students engaged in joint degree programs are bringing a contemporary flair and sense of mission to cross-disciplinary study. YDS offers joint degree programs with a half dozen other schools at Yale. Historically, the most popular have been with Forestry, Law, and Management. Dean of Admissions Anna Ramirez commends “the richness that joint degree students add to the mix of this place,” as well as the broad skill sets with which they leave Yale. Melissa Kurtz ’11MAR, a neonatal intensive care nurse, credits the joint degree program with making it possible to focus on both the “relationships among children’s health-care issues, policy advocacy, and the ethical delivery of quality health care” and “the way in which various individuals apply concepts of spirituality or religion to their understanding of notions like human dignity, human rights, and ethical decision-making in the health-care context.”


School of Drama
James Bundy, Dean

Center for New Theatre receives permanent endowment

Since its creation in 2008 with a grant from the Robina Foundation, the Yale Center for New Theatre has devoted major resources to the commissioning, development, and production of new plays and musicals at Yale Rep and across the country, and has supported residencies of playwrights and composers at Yale School of Drama. To date, the center has supported the work of more than 30 Yale Rep–commissioned artists as well as the world premieres and subsequent productions of twelve new American plays and musicals—including this coming season’s Marie Antoinette by David Adjmi, Dear Elizabeth by Sarah Ruhl, and Bill Camp and Robert Woodruff’s new adaptation of In a Year with 13 Moons by Rainer Werner Fassbinder.

Now, a transformational $18 million gift from the Robina Foundation will permanently endow the center and support the production of new theater for generations. Peter Karoff, speaking for the Robina Foundation, called the gift “an investment in creativity, and in the exciting and important role that theater plays in the human experience.” The Yale Center for New Theatre has been renamed the Binger Center for New Theatre in honor of James H. Binger ’38, the noted businessman, theater impresario, and philanthropist who created the Robina Foundation.


School of Engineering & Applied Science
T. Kyle Vanderlick, Dean

Graduate students receive national fellowships

Yale environmental engineering’s doctoral program will welcome six first-year students this fall, with the entire entering class having received highly competitive external research fellowships. Four of the students received National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowships, given to outstanding graduate students based on demonstrated potential for achievement in science and engineering. The foundation has received more than half a million applications for the fellowship since 1952, with less than 10 percent receiving awards; for the upcoming academic year, just 2,000 fellowships were offered nationally. Two of the students received graduate research fellowships from the Environmental Protection Agency. Founded in 1995, the EPA’s STAR (Science to Achieve Results) program is designed to engage the country’s best scientists and engineers in targeted research, and has awarded about 1,500 fellowships—fewer than 100 per year.

Challenging national trends

A Yale chapter of the Society for Women Engineers has been reestablished, with both undergraduate and graduate students participating in meetings and events throughout the year, and the chapter being represented at the SWE regional conference. An active SWE chapter at Yale reflects the success of SEAS in engaging women in engineering: nationwide, about 18 percent of bachelor’s degrees in engineering were awarded to women in 2011; at Yale, that number reached 31 percent. The school boasts similar numbers for engineering doctoral degrees, with 33 percent of Yale degrees awarded to women, compared to less than 22 percent nationally in 2011. These numbers reflect a sustained trend at the school that defies national trends in engineering enrollment: over the past five years, while the percentage of women enrolled in undergraduate engineering programs struggled to reach 18 percent nationally, Yale Engineering’s undergraduate enrollment has been well over 30 percent female and reached a high of nearly 40 percent in 2011.


School of Forestry & Environmental Studies
Peter Crane, Dean

Oil palm surging source of greenhouse gas emissions

Continued expansion of industrial-scale oil palm plantations on the island of Borneo will become a leading cause of greenhouse gas emissions by 2020 unless strong forest and peatland protections are enacted and enforced, according to a National Academy of Sciences study. The study, conducted by Yale and Stanford researchers, found that about two-thirds of lands outside of protected areas in the Ketapang district of West Kalimantan Province in Indonesian Borneo are leased to oil palm agribusiness companies. Indonesia, currently the global leader in palm-oil production, aims to increase the area for oil palm cultivation to 45 million acres by 2020 from 24 million acres in 2009, yet little is known about the influence of oil palm expansion on people and ecosystems. Palm oil is a form of edible vegetable oil used in many products, including cookies, crackers, popcorn, frozen dinners, candy, soap, and cosmetics.

Americans connect extreme weather to climate change

More than two-thirds of the American people believe global warming made several recent extreme weather disasters worse, according to a report released in May by the Yale Project on Climate Change Communication and George Mason University Center for Climate Change Communication. The report, “Extreme Weather, Climate, & Preparedness in the American Mind,” is part of an ongoing effort to understand how Americans conceptualize and respond to climate change. A large majority of respondents attributed to global warming such events as the unusually warm winter of December 2011 and January 2012 (72 percent), record-high summer temperatures in the United States in 2011 (70 percent), the 2011 droughts in Texas and Oklahoma (69 percent), record snowfall in 2010 and 2011 (61 percent), the Mississippi River floods in the spring of 2011 (63 percent), and Hurricane Irene (59 percent). The report can be read at


Graduate School of Arts & Sciences
Thomas D. Pollard, Dean

Advisers honored at Commencement

Three extraordinary faculty members were given the Graduate School’s Mentor Award at this year’s Commencement Convocation on May 20. The award recognizes superb teaching, advising, and mentoring of graduate students, and signals the commitment of the university and the Graduate School to effective and empathetic student guidance. Awards are given in each of the three academic areas: humanities, social sciences, and sciences, based on anonymous nominations from grateful students. This year’s recipients were Katie Trumpener, the Emily Sanford Professor of Comparative Literature and English; William Wright Kelly, the Sumitomo Professor of Japanese Studies and professor of anthropology; and Hemant Tagare, associate professor of electrical engineering, biomedical engineering, and diagnostic radiology. Each spoke at the convocation.

Career options for PhDs

The Graduate School Alumni Association and Graduate Career Services hosted a program, “Where Do I Go from Yale?” to encourage current PhD students to broaden their horizons when considering careers. A committee chaired by Rebecca Peabody ’06PhD (history of art and African American studies; now head of research projects at Getty Research Institute) organized alumni and others to speak about their work in academic administration, cultural organizations, private-sector research labs, government, and policy-making institutes. “You can do anything with a Yale PhD!” said Valerie Hotchkiss ’90PhD (medieval studies), who moderated one of the panels. She is director of the Rare Book & Manuscript Library at the University of Illinois.

Findings on nerve cell development

Ryan Christensen ’10MPhil (cell biology) has identified a mechanism controlling the growth of neurons during neural circuit formation in the brain, using the nematode C. elegans in Daniel Colon-Ramos’s laboratory. Ryan examined how the C. elegans version of a human gene called PTEN is involved in neuronal development. “I found that when this gene didn’t work, the neurons failed to grow correctly,” he explains. “I identified the pathway that this gene was acting in and, with collaborators at Harvard, determined that another element of the pathway had a similar effect in rats.” His findings were published in a major paper in the journal Development.


Law School
Robert Post, Dean

Two appointed as named professors

Two professors at the Law School, Scott Shapiro ’90JD and Tom Tyler, have been appointed to named professorships. Shapiro, the Charles F. Southmayd Professor of Law, is also a professor of philosophy at the Law School. He specializes in jurisprudence, international law, constitutional law and theory, criminal law, family law, philosophy of action, and the theory of authority. Tyler, also a professor of psychology at the Law School and a professor (by courtesy) at the School of Management, was named the inaugural Macklin Fleming Professor of Law. His research explores the role of justice in shaping people’s relationships with groups, organizations, communities, and societies.

Justice presides at moot court finals

Retired US Supreme Court justice John Paul Stevens presided at the Thurman Arnold Prize finals of the Morris Tyler Moot Court of Appeals on April 24. Justice Stevens was joined by the Honorable Judge Diane Wood of the US Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit and the Honorable Judge Brett Kavanaugh ’87, ’90JD, of the US Court of Appeals for the DC Circuit in hearing the case, Fisher v. University of Texas at Austin. At issue was whether the university’s use of race in undergraduate admissions violates the equal protection clause. Later that day, Justice Stevens was the guest of the Yale Law & Policy Review for a conversation with Yale Law School lecturer and Knight Distinguished Journalist in Residence Linda Greenhouse ’78MSL, who spent many years covering the Supreme Court for the New York Times.

Health law expert joins faculty

Abbe Gluck ’96, ’00JD, has joined the YLS faculty as an associate professor of law. An expert in civil procedure, legislation, federalism, and health law, she was previously an associate professor of law and the Milton Handler Fellow at Columbia Law School. She has extensive experience working as a lawyer in federal, state, and local government, serving in the administration of New Jersey governor Jon Corzine and that of New York City mayor Michael Bloomberg. In January 2012, she was co–lead counsel on a US Supreme Court amicus brief filed on behalf of 104 health law professors in support of the health reform legislation.


School of Management
Edward A. Snyder, Dean

Global Network gets official launch

Deans and directors from 21 international business schools convened in New York and at Yale SOM April 26–27 to officially launch the Global Network for Advanced Management, an organization that will connect faculty, students, and deans with their peers to address the complex leadership issues in business and society worldwide. Participants in a discussion about future leadership challenges agreed that business schools need greater emphasis on exercising creativity and thinking unconventionally, as well as more exposure to foreign languages, other cultures, and the economic and political systems in other countries in order to prepare leaders for a global economy. With its membership representing countries at different levels of economic development, the Global Network will provide a forum in which to evaluate how to restructure management education to ensure it addresses these challenges. Yale SOM will leverage the Global Network in the development of cases and other MBA course materials, as well as through the master of advanced management degree program that will gather exceptional graduates of Global Network schools for a one-year program of cross-disciplinary study at Yale. For more information visit the Global Network website:

Retired army general to head leadership program

On July 1, Brigadier General (Ret.) Thomas A. Kolditz joined Yale SOM as a professor in the practice of leadership and director of the school’s Leadership Development Program (LDP). Kolditz is spearheading the reintroduction of SOM’s LDP, which will be updated and expanded based on a set of goals and priorities developed by a faculty committee that has been evaluating the leadership curriculum at the school. He is creating a highly integrated program that will span, draw on, complement, and contribute to the entire two-year MBA experience—an innovation among top business schools. The new program will prepare SOM graduates to think expansively, rigorously, and responsibly about their footprint in the world. Kolditz had a distinguished career in the US Army, serving most recently as professor and head of the Department of Behavioral Sciences and Leadership at the US Military Academy at West Point, where he oversaw leader training and was founding director of the West Point Leadership Center.


School of Medicine
Robert J. Alpern, Dean

Scientists elected to national academy

Jorge E. Galán, the Lucille P. Markey Professor of Microbial Pathogenesis, chair of the medical school’s Section of Microbial Pathogenesis, and professor of cell biology, was elected a member of the National Academy of Sciences (NAS) on May 1, one of the world’s most prestigious honors that can be bestowed on a scientist. Galán is renowned for his research in the cell biology, biochemistry, immunobiology, and structural biology of the bacterial pathogens Salmonella and Campylobacter, which together cause most of the world’s food-borne illness. In a signature line of work, Galán and colleagues have thoroughly characterized the Salmonella “needle complex,” a syringe-like organelle through which the bacterium injects bacterial proteins into host cells during infection, modulating the function of those cells for its own advantage. Also elected to the NAS from Yale is John Carlson, the Eugene Higgins Professor of Molecular, Cellular, and Developmental Biology and an authority on insect olfaction. Carlson’s group discovered a family of 60 genes that encode odorant receptors in Drosophila, and used this knowledge to engineer Drosophila antennae to express olfactory receptors of the malaria-carrying mosquito Anopheles gambiae. With this system, Carlson and colleagues have compiled an inventory of odorant molecules found in human sweat that attract the Anopheles vector. Mosquito traps and repellents based on these findings are now being tested in various locations on the African continent.

Cancer specialist honored

Ronald R. Salem, Lampman Professor of Surgery, professor of diagnostic radiology, and chief of the medical school’s section of surgical oncology, is the recipient of the 2011 David J. Leffell Prize for Clinical Excellence, which recognizes a faculty member who exemplifies clinical expertise, skilled teaching, and the highest standards of care and compassion for patients. Salem’s accomplishments since his arrival at Yale 22 years ago include establishing the Oncologic and General Surgery group, now one of the busiest clinical practices in the Department of Surgery. A specialist in treating pancreatic cancer, Salem is an expert in performing the Whipple procedure, in which the head of the pancreas is removed.

In the May/June School Notes, this column misspelled the word “Mendelian” in describing a family of genetic disorders and a new center to study them. The center’s correct name is the Center for Mendelian Genomics at Yale.


School of Music
Robert Blocker, Dean

Sanford Medal celebrates alumnus

At the school’s 119th Commencement on May 21, Dean Robert Blocker presented the Sanford Medal, the School of Music’s highest honor, to Joseph Polisi ’73MusM, ’75MusAM, ’80MusAD, for distinguished service to music. Polisi, the first bassoonist to earn the DMA degree from the School of Music, has been the president of the Juilliard School since 1984. He has performed as bassoon soloist and chamber musician throughout the United States and has produced several sound recordings, including a solo album of twentieth-century bassoon music on Crystal Records. Polisi, a frequent speaker on arts and education issues, has also written numerous scholarly and educational articles. His most recent book, American Muse: The Life and Times of William Schuman, was published by Amadeus Press in 2008.

Tokyo String Quartet to retire

The Tokyo String Quartet, which joined the faculty of the Yale School of Music as artists-in-residence in 1977, announced this spring that the concert season 2012–2013 will be its last. One of the world’s most distinguished chamber music ensembles, the quartet—Martin Beaver, violin; Kikuei Ikeda, violin; Kazuhide Isomura, viola; and Clive Greensmith, cello—was founded in 1969. The ensemble currently performs well over 100 concerts each year across the globe, and has released more than 40 landmark recordings. The ensemble’s final concert will take place at the Norfolk Chamber Music Festival, the summer home of the Yale School of Music, in June 2013.

Alumnus wins Pulitzer Prize in Music

Composer Kevin Puts ’96MusM was awarded the 2012 Pulitzer Prize in Music for his opera Silent Night. The citation for Puts’s award called Silent Night “a stirring opera that recounts the true story of a spontaneous cease-fire among Scottish, French, and Germans during World War I, displaying versatility of style and cutting straight to the heart.” The opera, which is Puts’s first, was commissioned and premiered by the Minnesota Opera in Minneapolis in November 2011.

Another School of Music graduate, Andrew Norman ’09ArtA, was among this year’s finalists for the Pulitzer Prize in Music. Norman was nominated for The Companion Guide to Rome, cited as “an impressive musical portrait of nine historic churches, written for a string trio but sometimes giving the illusion of being played by a much larger group, changing mood and mode on a dime.”


School of Nursing
Margaret Grey, Dean

YSN will move to West Campus

YSN will move next year from New Haven to the university’s West Campus in Orange and West Haven. The relocation of the school and its 450 students, staff, and faculty is expected to begin in the summer of 2013 and be completed in time for the school’s 90th anniversary in the fall. “The ways we educate students have changed, and we need space that is flexible and equipped for tomorrow’s students,” said Dean Margaret Grey. “We are developing plans for customized spaces suited to modern teaching, simulation, research, and lab needs.” More information and photos at (For a Yale Alumni Magazine report on the move, see "Nursing school moves west.")

YSN professor gets honorary degree

Dr. Donna Diers ’64MSN, the Annie W. Goodrich Professor Emerita and lecturer at YSN, received the University of Wyoming’s honorary doctor of science degree during the UW commencement ceremonies on May 5. Diers is a Wyoming native who received her undergraduate degree from the University of Denver before coming to YSN as a master’s student. She joined the faculty as an instructor in 1964 and served as dean for 13 years.

Professor to lead national organization

Dr. Mikki Meadows-Oliver, assistant professor of nursing, is the newly elected president-elect of the National Association of Pediatric Nurse Practitioners (NAPNAP). Her main objectives as president include promoting NAPNAP as the leading organization for PNPs and other advanced practice nurses who care for children; advocating to advance the PNP role; striving to improve health care for infants, children, and adolescents; and encouraging partnerships with other organizations that promote child health.

Visiting Nurses honor YSN faculty

Professors Angela Crowley and Patricia Jackson Allen were recognized this spring with the Nightingale Award for Excellence in Nursing, an honor created by the Visiting Nurse Association of South Central Connecticut to celebrate outstanding nurses and elevate the nursing profession. YSN professor Donna Diers was the keynote speaker at the event.


School of Public Health
Paul D. Cleary, Dean

The art of public health

Translating abstract health concepts into provocative messages that will resonate with the general public is challenging. At Yale, students from the School of Public Health turned to colleagues at the School of Art to address that challenge, and together they developed visually powerful posters to educate and motivate broad swathes of society about some of today’s pressing health issues. The posters created through this unique collaborative effort were on display at Yale in April in an exhibition titled The Art of Public Health, which is on view in July at the Connecticut state capitol in Hartford.

Some tumors linked to dental X-rays

People who received frequent dental X-rays in the past have an increased risk of developing a meningioma, the most common and potentially debilitating type of noncancerous brain tumor, a recent study led by the Yale School of Public Health found. The study found that individuals receiving bitewing exams (which use X-ray film held in place by a tab between the teeth) on a yearly or more frequent basis were approximately 50 percent more likely to develop a meningioma than their peers in the control group. The researchers also found a link between meningioma risk and the panoramic dental exam (which uses an X-ray outside of the mouth to develop a single image of all of the teeth). For a Yale Alumni Magazine article on the study, see “Dental X-Rays and Your Health.”)

Researchers will train in urban health

A $4 million award from the National Institutes of Health will allow the Yale School of Public Health and three partnering universities to establish a Global Health Training Program to address issues surrounding urbanization and social inequality. The grant creates a consortium between global health researchers at Yale and their colleagues from Florida International University, Stanford University, and the University of California, Berkeley. This is one of five consortias that will receive $4 million each over five years, for a total of $20 million, to train global health researchers.  


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