“Dear Peter…”

Advice from the alumni for Yale’s next president.

Commendable and even necessary as it may be to make Yale a kind of “global university,” Yale must never lose sight of its primary duty to citizens of this country, to its polity, its economy, its national security, and its just society. By all means open our doors, and send our men and women and professors around the world, but remember our roots over the centuries are here.
—Raymond Firehock ’60

As you well know, achieving diversity has been an objective at Yale for many years. I believe that this applies to students, faculty, and employees (insofar as union rules permit). But the diversity sought seems to be limited to gender, race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, and perhaps age. I am unaware of any effort to achieve diversity of political opinion or ideology in faculty hiring or student admissions. A great university such as Yale should, in my opinion, expose students in all disciplines to a range of ideas, not merely those that are bien-pensant.
—Robert F. Phelps ’53

Keep strengthening Yale’s science, biomechanical, and engineering programs.
—Richard M. Daly ’71

Respect the New Haven community and its residents.
—Ashika Brinkley ’05MPH

Drop football, or turn it into an intramural-only sport. It causes horrific damage to young brains, and the football team recruitment comes at the cost of more intellectually engaged members of the community.
—Martha Bagnall Han ’00

Go to Singapore and see for yourself. As someone who lived there for several years, and who knows Yalies familiar with the city-state who are on both sides of the topic, I feel that there are valid arguments on both sides—reasons for Yale to help sponsor the initiative, but also reasons to be concerned and to watch closely how it develops. Have a “town hall” there with students, faculty, administrators—and see whether the government’s plainclothes agents and cameras are also present, see whether people feel free to speak openly, hear what the concerns are from those who are on the spot. I know the university is past the point of the decision whether to do it, but that does not mean that there are no more decisions to be made about it.
—Jim Stoner ’78

Bend over backwards to make Yale affordable to all.
—Erik Kulleseid ’85, ’94MFS

Please keep the university moving towards diversity and a population and workforce that reflect the best of what the US and the world have to offer.
—Miguel Meléndez ’98

I’m sure that you will continue to build on Yale’s proud heritage to ensure that it is a commanding global university. I’ve spent my entire life post-Yale living abroad. It’s encouraging to see Yale go from strength to strength from afar, while remaining connected as an alumna and interviewer of undergraduate candidates.
—Olivia Leydenfrost ’83

I hope that Yale will continue its commitment to the liberal arts, in particular, the humanities disciplines, whose essential contribution is more difficult to measure and whose value is often realized only retrospectively.
—William Owens ’86PhD

Please allow Yale athletics to return to competitive balance in the Ivy League. My days at Yale were 1977 to 1981, and during those years Yale football won four Ivy titles in five years. Thirty years later, a quarter of my fellow football alums are successful physicians, half are attorneys, some teach school, some act as community organizers—all represent Yale proudly.

Somehow, with the emphasis on following the NYU direction, we lost a proud athletic tradition. Pity.

Mens sana in corpore sano.
—Jeffrey R. Manning ’81

I hope that Mr. Salovey continues to focus on the undergraduate learning experience at Yale in order to develop strong leaders who are interested in public service. In addition, I think one semester of community service should be a requirement for graduation.
—Deborah Binder ’81

I would advise you to—as best you can—listen to your gut. You have been at Yale a long time and know its foibles. Be true to yourself, don’t cave to bad ideas that have superficially good “wrapping,” and love your job.

Yale was the best four years of my life, although I did not know it at the time. I hope your tenure holds the best years of your life as well.
—June Mendoza Wheeler ’80