This just in

On Yale & Yale alumni.
Ico print Print | Ico email Email | Facebook | | RSS

Econ chair appointed provost

A slip of the tongue from Yale president-elect Peter Salovey ’86PhD made today's campus news seem especially momentous . . . but just for a moment. Having summoned a Luce Hall auditorium full of faculty, staff, and media for a "special announcement," Salovey introduced economics professor Benjamin Polak as "the next president of Yale." He quickly corrected himself—Polak will in fact succeed Salovey as Yale's provost—joking that "the last two months have been sobering, but not that sobering."

Like outgoing president Richard Levin ’74PhD, Polak is an economist: he is the William C. Brainard Professor of Economics and the chair of the department, and he also holds a faculty appointment in the School of Management. And like Salovey, he is a popular teacher, having won numerous teaching prizes in both Yale College  and the Graduate School. His scholarship is in decision theory and game theory, and his course on game theory is available on video through Open Yale Courses.

And like two of his other recent predecessors as provost, Alison Richard and Andrew Hamilton, the 52-year-old Polak brings an English accent to the provost's office. A native of England, he studied at Cambridge as an undergraduate and did his graduate work at Northwestern and Harvard. He joined the Yale faculty in 1994.

At today's announcement, Salovey pointed out Polak's family ties across the university. His wife, Stefanie Markovits ’94, ’01PhD, is a professor in the English department, and her brother, Daniel Markovits ’91, ’00JD, is the Guido Calabresi Professor of Law at the Law School. Polak and Markovits have three young children.

Polak today acknowledged that even though Yale has made it through the economic downturn "almost unscathed, with very few scars," he would, as the university's top academic budget officer, "have to say 'no'" sometimes. He also thanked Levin and Salovey for "making Yale the kind of place where I would want to be provost."

Salovey explained at the announcement that he will spend the rest of the academic year as a full-time president-elect until he takes office on July 1.

Filed under Benjamin Polak, Peter Salovey, provost
The comment period has expired.