More news of Yale people


Harold Attridge, who will step down as dean of the Divinity School this June after finishing his second five-year term, has been appointed to a Sterling Professorship, Yale’s highest faculty honor. Attridge, who has taught the New Testament at Yale since 1997, is the first Sterling Professor from the Divinity School in 20 years. President Richard Levin ’74PhD surprised Attridge with the appointment at a March event at the school welcoming incoming dean Gregory Sterling. (See “New Div School Dean is a Preacher-Scholar.”) Attridge will take a one-year sabbatical before returning to teach in fall 2013.


Moving on

Alexander Nemerov ’92PhD, the Vincent Scully Professor of the History of Art and current department chair, is leaving Yale for a position at Stanford, where he taught from 1992 to 2000. Nemerov teaches the introductory art history survey course made famous by Vincent Scully ’40, ’49PhD, and he is a popular lecturer. He made headlines in January when he turned away about half of the 500 students who shopped the class so he could teach in a (smaller) hall without wireless Internet.



Ruth Barcan Marcus ’46PhD, Professor Emeritus of Philosophy, died at her home in New Haven on February 19. She was 90. Marcus was one of the first women philosophers to break into the male-dominated field of logic; she crafted the “Barcan formula” in symbolic logic in the late 1940s, just after finishing her doctorate. During her nearly 40 years at Yale, Marcus mentored female students who aspired to careers in academia. She also wrote a still-popular essay arguing that moral dilemmas are real—though not always “resolvable by principles for which moral justification can be given.”


Howard Spiro, a retired professor of gastroenterology and champion of patient-centered medicine, died in Branford, Connecticut, on March 11. Spiro became the first chief of the then–brand new gastroenterology section in Yale’s Department of Internal Medicine in 1955. Fascinated by the placebo effect and the interplay of emotions and physical symptoms, Spiro became an expert on the dynamics of the doctor-patient relationship, tutoring medical students on empathy, listening, and bedside manner. An accomplished writer himself, Spiro cofounded the School of Medicine’s Program for Humanities in Medicine in 1983, which spawned a journal and lecture series on the culture of medicine. 


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