President's Letter

Opening remarks

President Maurie McInnis ’96PhD delivered the following remarks at the announcement of her appointment on May 29.

Dan Renzetti

Dan Renzetti

Maurie McInnis ’96PhD. View full image

Hello, everyone.
I join Senior Trustee Josh Bekenstein ’80 in thanking all of you who contributed to the search process, and I am grateful for the thoughtful efforts of the student advisory council. I would like to express my deepest appreciation to the corporation members and to the faculty who dedicated so much of their time to the search process. This search involved the entire community—faculty, students, staff, alumni, and New Haven community members. I will take that collaborative spirit with me when I begin my service as Yale’s president on July 1.

As a Yale alumna, this is a moment that I will never forget. When I first arrived at Yale in 1989 with my U-Haul, ready to pursue a PhD in the Department of the History of Art, I knew that this place would change my life. And it did. I encountered faculty members and fellow students who encouraged me to grow in so many ways, intellectually and personally.

In my work with renowned faculty members, such as Anne Hanson, Vincent Scully ’40, ’49PhD, Jules Prown, Robert Herbert ’57PhD, and Ned Cooke ’77, I was introduced not only to history, but to how to be a historian. I learned how to ask questions and immerse myself in other times, places, and cultures, through the lived experience of art, architecture, and artifacts.

Within the objects that humans produce and conserve, we find echoes of our shared humanity—often not captured in words—of belief, of beauty and horror, of joy and sorrow, of love and loss. My own work as a scholar has attempted to illuminate the past and to make that understanding more broadly accessible to the public. And the curiosity instilled in me by my experiences at Yale has driven my work as an academic leader as well. In fact, one of the most rewarding aspects of leading a university—as well as medical centers and research facilities—is the opportunity it affords me to be exposed to the greatest minds across a breadth of disciplines and lines of inquiry.

My time at Yale has transformed my life, and I understand the trust and responsibility given to me. I value the opportunity to work with you to build on all that you, President Salovey, Provost Strobel, and the academic and administrative leaders have accomplished in realizing the academic priorities and advancing Yale’s mission.

I know I have big shoes to fill. In my service as an alumna volunteer and trustee, I have gotten to know some of you. I look forward to reconnecting, working with you in a new capacity, and meeting so many more of you. You—your work and your aspirations—make Yale what it is. So, I want to learn about your work, your experiences, and what you want to see in the future for Yale and higher education.

I will be reaching out later in the summer about listening sessions and individual meetings.

I also look forward to introducing my husband, Dean; two children; and other family members to what I love about Yale and New Haven. I wouldn’t be here today without their support over the years. I am especially excited about taking them to the local museums and galleries and the amazing restaurants and shops in the city.

For now, I want to say I am grateful to you—to the faculty, students, staff, alumni, and neighbors in New Haven, and especially President Salovey and Marta Moret ’84MPH. I know well the extraordinary impact Peter and Marta have had on Yale over the last few decades. And I’d personally like to thank them both for the kindness they have shown Dean and me.

I’m filled with gratitude as I step into the role to lead this university, knowing firsthand the opportunity for learning it provides to students and the impact it has on millions of people around the world through life-changing scholarship and research.

I have no doubt that there are many exciting times ahead for all of us, and many challenges. Through it all, I will seek the input of the community and urge all of us to listen with empathy and compassion for the experiences of others. Most importantly, I will encourage us to ask ourselves what change we wish to see in the world and how might we best accomplish that.

I can’t wait to begin. Thank you.

Maurie McInnis ’96PhD

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