Every Friday, we choose an alum who has been making headlines—for better or for worse.
Ico print Print | Ico email Email | Facebook | | RSS

Toni Harp ’78MEnvD:
a first for New Haven

Three hundred seventy-five years after the founding of the New Haven Colony, and nearly four decades after Connecticut first elected a female governor, a woman will make history by becoming mayor of New Haven. And she's a Yale graduate.

Toni Nathaniel Harp ’78MEnvD, a longtime state senator, defeated fellow Yalie Justin Elicker ’10MEM, ’10MBA, by a closer-than-expected tally of about 55 percent to 45 percent on November 5. Harp is a Democrat; Elicker, a two-term alderman, ran as an independent candidate after coming in second to Harp in a four-way Democratic primary. (A third Yalie, Henry Fernandez ’94JD, dropped out after the primary.)

While her Yale degree is a master's in environmental design from the School of Architecture, Harp has focused professionally and politically on issues of poverty, homelessness, health care, and education. Elicker, an environmental consultant with degrees from the School of Forestry & Environmental Studies and the School of Management, put a greater emphasis on new urbanism, bike-and-pedestrian-friendly streets, and food policy—concerns that Harp identified, in a post-election interview, as “an important [message] that needed to be heard.”

At 66, Harp will not match the 20-year tenure of Mayor John DeStefano, whom she succeeds on January 1. But she can look forward to good relations with Yale's new president, Peter Salovey ’86PhD, who congratulated Harp in an email to the Yale community.

In an interview this summer with the Yale Alumni Magazine, Salovey said: "I'm looking forward to working with the next mayor of New Haven to advance our city and to build on the excellent progress we have made together in the past 20 years on home ownership, on the retail vitality around campus, and on the progress with the public schools. I want to continue those efforts and add a focus on economic development—promoting the entrepreneurial activities of our students in the city of New Haven and enlisting alumni to bring business to New Haven with ultimately a focus on job creation."

Filed under school of architecture, Toni Harp, Justin Elicker
The comment period has expired.