Instead of returning to Yale next year, Saybrook College Dean Paul McKinley will be hitting the slopes in Colorado.
In a Feb. 27 e-mail to students in Saybrook College, McKinley announced that he would not be returning to Yale for a third consecutive three-year term. McKinley said he intends to return to New York City and work in film production — his original calling — but not before taking a year off to perfect his skiing. Calling the end of this academic year “a very natural time” to leave Yale, McKinley cited his increasing age as a big factor in his decision to dedicate himself to his skiing and encouraged students to pursue their passions.
“Do what you want to do and go do it,” McKinley said. “Don’t wait until it’s too late.”
After six years as the Saybrook College Dean, McKinley said he felt it was time for a change.
“With six years behind me, I have decided not to begin my third term and will instead be leaving Yale at the end of this academic year,” McKinley said in the e-mail.
After earning his degree from the Yale Drama School, McKinley accepted the position of Saybrook College Dean in 1996 and also began teaching in the Theater Studies Department.
Despite his desire to follow his true passions, McKinley said he would not forget about Yale any time soon.
“I really will miss this place,” McKinley said. “It’s been my home for the past ten years and leaving it is going to be hard.”
Saybrook College Master Mary Miller said McKinley would be missed.
“He has been both just a remarkable guide and leader for the college as well as a personal friend to me,” Miller said. “I feel very sad. I feel very encouraging and very supportive of Paul McKinley’s desire to follow his career. I don’t know what size shoes he wears, but nobody else is wearing that size.”
Students expressed similar feelings.
“I’m happy for him. He will certainly be missed,” Zachary Clopton ’03, a Saybrook freshman counselor said.
Clopton described McKinley as being dedicated to his students. Clopton cited McKinley’s habit of waking up at five o’clock on Wednesday mornings just to bake muffins and make breakfast for the freshman counselors, who have had to hold their weekly meetings in the early morning to avoid schedule conflicts.
“Having the chance to work with him more closely as a freshman counselor, I have gotten infinitely more respect and admiration for him,” Clopton said.
Sasha Waring ’03, former chairman of the Saybrook Housing Committee, pointed to McKinley’s participation in intramural athletics as an example of his integral role in the college.
“He takes responsibilities not only as a dean but as a participant in everyday college life,” Waring said. “He is very visible and genuinely enjoys being part of the college life.”
Above all else, McKinley said stepping down from his post will be difficult because of the people he will have to leave behind.
“What I’m going to miss most is just being in amazing company of people,” McKinley said. “The best part of it is definitely the students.”