Alumni reflect

Ten views of the Levin era.

Mark Ostow

Mark Ostow

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I am most struck by the fact that President Levin committed Yale to embracing a deep and meaningful relationship with New Haven. That doesn’t mean it’s always been a perfect relationship, but I’ve been impressed. Programs such as New Haven Promise [a college scholarship program for high-achieving New Haven public school graduates] have made me prouder of my alma mater than just about any of the other initiatives Yale has undertaken.
—Emily Pressman ’02, ’09MA

Richard Levin’s principal accomplishment was the length of his term of service. My own experience at a college presidency was closer to the norm of eight to nine years. In two decades one has the opportunity to put out the fires, catch up on the housekeeping, and evaluate faculty. One can create a vision and a personal plan for the future and not only execute it but also enjoy the chance to evaluate progress and modify the course. And the best is the wisdom and ability to walk out rather than to be carried.
—G. Richard Slade ’52

Rick Levin inherited a cash-strapped discordant mess. Today Yale is on solid financial footing, the campus is physically transformed, and the university is pursuing ambitious projects around the world. The Yale community enjoys productive collaboration among the administration, the faculty, the students, staff and union employees, and the City of New Haven. If there are any telephone booths left in town, Rick can use one to change back into Clark Kent.
—Arthur Greenwald ’75

Wealthier, in all ways, than ever.
—Erik Kulleseid ’85, ’94MF

I feel that during President Levin’s tenure the university has done well monetarily and academically. As an athlete I do believe that he has not supported policies to strengthen the admission of quality student athletes to make Yale more competitive in the Ivy League. I hope his successor will improve on that area.
—Charles R. Strong ’57E

My sophomore year I was the Yale Daily News Woodbridge Hall beat reporter. I called President Levin’s house almost every weekday night and ran through a series of questions. President Levin not only took the interviews each night, but also took them seriously. None of my reporter friends at other college papers had even close to the access that he provided. It offered a window into what made Yale so special.
—Michael B. Horn ’02

Yale in Singapore is a terrible idea. It endorses and aligns Yale with a government that stands against everything a liberal education should promote, as well as diluting the Yale brand. With Yale in its corner the Singapore government will have all the less incentive to liberalize. Richard Levin will bear this albatross long after the Yale-in-Singapore experiment fails.
—Eliot Cohen ’78

Dr. Rick Levin accomplished many things. His greatest was purchasing the West Campus for ten cents on the dollar.
—Ronald L. Hooker ’79MDiv

Rick Levin showed courage in making occasional risky and controversial decisions. Yale in Singapore is an obvious example, and he deserves credit for bucking the growing dominance of Big Sports in higher education by reducing the number of admissions slots reserved for coaches. He’s taken a lot of heat from alums and student athletes, and who knows when we’ll next win The Game. But it’s fitting that a president who reaffirmed the preeminence of the academic mission was rewarded with an NCAA hockey title in his final year.
—Lee Bolman ’62, ’68PhD

During his tenure, he didn’t just defend Yale’s enlightened need-blind admissions policy from demise, he expanded it. In 1999, Yale became more globally accessible when it extended need-blind admissions to the world’s “most promising students” from “all economic backgrounds.” My Yale diploma is a direct result of this policy. My Yale pride is a direct result of his stewardship and leadership around this and many other issues.
—Vladimir Cole ’99

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