At the next meeting of the Yale Corporation, name tags may be required.
Today Yale will announce that Edward Bass ’68, a member of the family that has contributed more than $40 million to Yale in the past two decades, has been selected as a successor trustee of the University’s highest governing body. Theodore Shen ’66, a Wall Street veteran who has served the University in many capacities, was elected an alumni trustee in June.
Bass replaces Mexican economist Jamie Serra GRD ’79, who served for seven years as a successor trustee but who retired because the travel from his home to Corporation meetings was too difficult. Serra was the first non-American to serve as a Yale trustee. Shen is filling the spot of National Resources Defense Council executive director Frances Beinecke ’71 FOR ’74, who completed her term last spring.
Bass is chairman of Fine Line Inc., an investment company based in Fort Worth, Texas. He co-chairs the Leadership Council of Yale’s School of Forestry and Environmental Studies and is a member of the External Advisory Board for the Yale Institute for Biospheric Studies. In the past 10 years Bass has donated $25 million to Yale to fund the construction of the Environmental Science Facility — part of the $500 Science Hill plan — and to create two endowed professorships in the environmental sciences and the biospheric study center.
Shen retired in 1999 as chair of the Donaldson, Lufkin and Jenrette Capital Markets Group after spending more than 30 years of his career with the financial firm. He is the first Asian American to serve as a Yale trustee. He has served on the University Council, an advisory group to the president, and in 1995 made a large gift to Yale to fund the construction of six squash courts. Shen is co-head of the board of trustees at Phillips Exeter Academy and a member of the executive committee at the Brooklyn Museum of Art.
Successor trustees are selected by Yale President Richard Levin and may serve up to two six-year terms. Alumni trustees are elected by Yale graduates from all over the world and serve single terms of six years.
Both trustees said they are happy to be able to serve Yale in this capacity.
“I am honored by my appointment, excited by the challenges and committed to contributing my efforts to the full extent Yale deserves,” Bass said in an e-mail statement.
Shen said he was shocked to be elected. The alumni ballot, distributed to all Yale graduates last spring, listed three candidates.
“I still think there was a voting anomaly,” Shen said. “It’s a special honor to have found my way onto the Corporation. I have a lot of learning to do.”
The son of a Yale zoology and neurobiology professor and the father of a recent Yale graduate, Shen said he will draw on these ties to Yale to help guide him in his new role. He named globalization as one of the top challenges Yale faces.
A special committee of the Association of Yale Alumni selects the candidates for the position of alumni trustee. The Yale Corporation is composed of 19 members — 10 successor trustees, six alumni trustees, the governor and lieutenant governor of Connecticut, and the University President. Former Baltimore mayor Kurt Schmoke ’71 is the senior fellow.