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Graham Macindoe

Graham Macindoe

Bryce Dessner ’98, ’99MusM View full image


Bryce Dessner ’98, ’99MusM (left) might be best known as a member of the indie rock band The National. But he’s also a composer and classical guitarist who has collaborated with a range of artists from Philip Glass to Taylor Swift. Dessner returns to Yale this fall as an artist in residence at the Schwarzman Center, where he is curating and commissioning new works. “Commons is symbolically the heart of Yale University,” he says. “So as a creative space there’s a lot of potential.”

Also new to the Schwarzman Center is Rachel Fine, who took over as executive director in October. A concert pianist, Fine was most recently executive director and CEO of the Wallis Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts in Los Angeles. She has also served as executive director of the Los Angeles Children’s Chorus and the Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra.

Alan Gerber ’86 has been appointed a Sterling Professor of Political Science. Gerber, who has taught at Yale since 1993, also holds appointments in economics and statistics and data science, and he is director of the Institution for Social and Policy Studies. His areas of research include political campaigns and elections and the role of evidence production in public policy. The Sterling professorship is Yale’s highest faculty honor; up to 40 active professors can hold the title.

Civil engineer Mike Bellamy has been named vice president for facilities and campus development at Yale. Bellamy comes to the university from the Kaiser Foundation Health Plan of the Mid-Atlantic States, where he was executive director for facilities services. Earlier in his career, as senior facilities executive for engineering, design, and construction for the Smithsonian Institution, he guided the planning of the National Museum of African American History and Culture.


The Yale Alumni Association will award its highest honor, the Yale Medal, to five alumni this year. The medalists are Gina Rosselli Boswell ’89MBA, who served on the University Council for eight years, including six as president; Alison E. Brody ’95, chair of the Alumni Schools Committee of the Yale Club of Oregon for more than 20 years; Rockwell “Rocky” Chin ’71MCP, a founder of the Asian American Students Alliance and an advocate for the Asian American and Pacific Islander community; Lauren E. Graham ’13MEM, chair of Yale Blue Green, a group for alumni interested in sustainability; and donald m. roberts ’57, founder of the Music in Schools Initiative that brings music education to New Haven students.

Daniel Spielman ’92, the Sterling Professor of Computer Science, Statistics and Data Science and Mathematics and Applied Mathematics, has been awarded the $3 million Breakthrough Prize in Mathematics for 2023. Spielman was honored in part for his role in solving the Kadison-Singer Problem. (See “Infinite Complexity” in our May/June 2021 issue.) The Breakthrough Prizes have been awarded since 2012 by a foundation sponsored by Silicon Valley entrepreneurs.

Stepping down

After serving as dean of the School of Music for more than 27 years, Robert Blocker has announced that he will retire at the end of August 2023. Blocker has been dean of the school since 1995, except for a brief stint as provost of Southern Methodist University in 2005–06. Among the highlights of his deanship were the construction of a new building, the renovation of three others, and the negotiation of a $100 million gift from Stephen Adams ’59 and Denise Adams that made it possible for the school to go tuition-free in 2006.

Nate Nickerson stepped down as vice president for communications in September after three and a half years in the job. He left Yale to join a venture capital firm in Palo Alto, California. Nickerson led the Office of Public Affairs and Communications, helping the university navigate the COVID-19 pandemic and launching Yale Today, a daily email digest of university news.

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