Take another look at YES

To the Editor:

Charles Finch (“Just say no to Yale entrepreneurs,” 2/19) presents an offensive view of the Yale Entrepreneurial Society. YES, as with all student organizations, is an outlet where students can explore and express their passions. What passion is automatically assumed of YES members? Money.

This assumption reflects gross ignorance concerning entrepreneurship in general as well as YES in particular. Business leaders are so often lumped together as a seething, money-grabbing behemoth that it makes me ill. The role of the entrepreneur is antithetical to this view of corporate America; entrepreneurship is fundamentally an act of creation.

The traditional view of business is better approximated by those juniors and seniors I have heard around campus saying, “I guess I’ll go into investment banking or consulting.” How sad that those students will have only the memory of a four-year odyssey through the “liberal arts” as they begin a life they consider drudgery. YES members, instead of viewing Yale as a last repose, see their time here as the foundation of future happiness.

Before considering YES’s only initiative the accumulation of wealth, I challenge anyone to look at what YES actually does. YES brought Dr. William Haseltine, President of Human Genome Sciences, to campus last week. His presentation covered the issues of working at a research institution, biomedical ethics and a message that his company has the ultimate goal of employing medical technology to increase quality of life. Such breadth of knowledge is characteristic of the entrepreneurs YES brings to Yale.

Every student is here to pursue his or her dreams; to disparage YES is to claim the dreams of some individuals are misguided at best, a frightening claim for any advocate of a liberal education. Let us not see this in terms of either business or academia. Instead, we can allow business and academia to continue their dynamic coexistence, providing a liberal education meeting the needs of all its students.

Michael Dawson ’04

February 20, 2001

The writer is a member of YES

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