At home at the House

Timeica E. Bethel-Macaire '11 returns to run the Afro-American Cultural Center.

Courtesy Yale College

Courtesy Yale College

Timeica E. Bethel-Macaire ’11 is the new director of the Afro-American Cultural Center and assistant dean of Yale College. View full image

Timeica E. Bethel-Macaire ’11, the new head of the Afro-American Cultural Center at Yale, gently reminds students that while they can study, commune, and dream in the storied 9,000 square-foot structure at 211 Park Street, they can’t sleep over.

“Generations of Black Yalies have tried to live at the House”—as the center is popularly known—“but we discourage it,” Bethel-Macaire says. “There are no showers here, and the kitchen is inadequate.”

Bethel-Macaire knows of what she speaks. She was a habitué of the House—the first Black cultural center in the Ivy League—as a student, studying in the upstairs library and attending meetings of the Black Student Alliance at Yale, the NAACP, and the Yale African Students Association—to name a few of the 40-plus organizations that call the House home.

She recalls cultural offerings such as art exhibits, poetry slams, and Shades a cappella concerts at the House, not to mention Sunday morning praise and worship. “I absorbed a lot of knowledge and built a great social network in this building,” she says. “I learned to be a leader here and found my voice.”

A Teach for America alumna, she took the reins at the House in August after Risë Nelson became director of diversity, equity, and inclusion at the Yale University Library. Bethel-Macaire brings experience, empathy, and a passion for learning to the post, says longtime Yale volunteer Sheryl Carter ’82, a founding member and former national president and chair of the Yale Black Alumni Association.

“What’s so special about Timeica is that she’s fearless and she cares about students and alums,” says Carter, who served with Bethel-Macaire and Don M. Roman ’71 as cochair of the 50th anniversary celebration of the House this year.

“She has a great grasp on the big picture, values the opinion of both the youth and alums, and is a real straight shooter.”

The Illinois native comes by that enthusiasm and love of learning experientially. “I spent most of my life in the LeClaire Courts housing projects in Chicago,” she says. “I know what education can do. And the House for me was critical to my growth and my sense of feeling at home at Yale.”

“Dean Bethel is a warm and easy connector who can bring groups together, and these personal gifts will only add to her ability to project the sense of belonging for our students,” says Pericles Lewis, dean of Yale College. “We were very lucky to find someone who has dedicated her career and personal life to making people feel welcomed and included.”

“One of our themes for this year is ‘welcome home,’” Bethel-Macaire says. “We’re reconnecting to our roots and revitalizing our community.” Do keep bringing your dreams to the House, she intimates. But while napping is okay, remember to spend the night elsewhere.   

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