More news of Yale people

Stephen Adams ’59 and his wife Denise. View full image


Stephen Adams ’59, who with his wife Denise gave $100 million to make the Yale School of Music tuition-free, died on March 14 at his home in Connecticut. He was 86. With an MBA from Stanford, Adams became a successful businessman in a number of fields, but he was best known for his philanthropy. At the Yale School of Medicine, the couple made a gift to establish the Stephen and Denise Adams Center for Parkinson’s Research, and at Yale New Haven Hospital, the Adams Neurosciences Center. Adams was awarded the Yale Medal in 2009, and the Adams Center for Musical Arts is named for them.

Ken Mackenzie ’56, who coached the Yale varsity baseball team from 1969 to 1978, died on December 14 at his home in Guilford, Connecticut. He was 89. MacKenzie was a two-sport varsity athlete at Yale, playing both hockey and baseball. He captained the baseball team in his senior season and led the team to a conference title. He pitched as a reliever in the major league for six years and was part of the roster for the New York Mets in their infamous 1962 inaugural season; in fact, he was the only pitcher on the team with a winning record that year. After stepping down as coach at Yale, MacKenzie worked for the Yale Alumni Association until his retirement in 1984.

Professor Emeritus of Medicine John N. Forrest Jr. died at his home in New Haven on March 19. He was 85. Forrest came to New Haven as a resident in internal medicine in 1964, and he returned in 1969 as chief resident, eventually becoming a professor at the School of Medicine. In 1987, he founded the school’s Office of Student Research to support and oversee student research; he directed the office for 33 years. When he retired in 2020, a fund for student research mentorship and an annual mentorship prize were established in his honor.

Ruth Landau Benedict ’48MN, who won both the Yale Medal and the Yale School of Nursing Medal for her volunteer efforts on behalf of the school and the university, died on December 31. She was 98. When the Yale Alumni Association was founded in 1972, Benedict was the first and only woman on the board of governors. She led fund-raising efforts for the nursing school in the 1977 Campaign for Yale and oversaw appeals to graduate and professional alumni for the Yale Alumni Fund for 12 years. In 1979, during the energy crisis, President Giamatti appointed her director of energy conservation for the university.


Eight writers have been honored with the 2024 Windham-Campbell Prize, a $175,000 award inaugurated in 2013 and administered by the Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library. This year’s winners in fiction are Deirdre Madden (Ireland) and Kathryn Scanlan (US); in nonfiction, Christina Sharpe (Canada/US) and Hanif Abdurraqib (US); in drama, Christopher Chen (US) and Sonya Kelly (Ireland); and in poetry, M. Nourbese Philip (Canada/Trinidad and Tobago) and Jen Hadfield (Canada/UK). The recipients will come to campus in September to speak at the Windham-Campbell Festival. 

Stepping down

Courtney Martin ’09PhD is leaving her post as director of the Yale Center for British Art at the end of June to become the executive director of the Robert Rauschenberg Foundation in New York. Martin, an art historian, has been director of the YCBA since 2019. Her tenure included both the COVID-19 pandemic and a closing of the museum for a building conservation project that is expected to be completed next April. In a message to the Yale community, President Peter Salovey ’86PhD called Martin “a strategic, visionary leader” who has “strengthened the YCBA over the past five years.”

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