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Change at the top: Margaret Marshall is new senior trustee

She was the first female chief justice of the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court, where she wrote the opinion making that the first state to legalize same-sex marriage. Now, Margaret Marshall ’76JD will become the first woman to serve as senior fellow of Yale's governing body, the Yale Corporation.

Not quite chairman of the board, the senior fellow nonetheless wields influence—presiding over Corporation meetings when the university president is absent, and sharing with the president responsibility for "setting the Corporation’s agenda and appointing its committees," the university says.

A graduate of Yale Law School, Marshall currently sits on the Corporation as a "successor trustee," tapped by President Rick Levin ’74PhD last year after Fareed Zakaria ’86 resigned amid a plagiarism scandal. She previously served six years as an alumni fellow.

Between those terms, Levin called on Marshall to head an Advisory Committee on Campus Climate, which delivered a 42-page report (PDF) on “how sexual harassment, violence or misconduct may be more effectively combated at Yale, and what additional steps the university might take to create a culture and community in which all of our students are safe and feel well supported.”

Elected by her fellow trustees to succeeed Edward Bass ’67, Marshall will become senior fellow on July 1. That's the same date on which Peter Salovey ’81PhD succeeds Levin as Yale president. The end of Levin's 20-year presidency and Bass's 13-year stint as trustee signal a changing of the guard—but not a radical change.

As a young student resisting apartheid in her native South Africa, "we didn't think anything we did would make any difference," Marshall said in a video interview last year, upon receiving an honorary Doctor of Laws degree from Yale. She learned that change happens slowly. "Every one of us just has to do a little something. Over time, you will make a difference."

Filed under Yale Corporation, Margaret Marshall
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