Yale Corporation member Roland Betts ’68 will succeed John Pepper ’60 as senior fellow of the Corporation when Pepper resigns from the Corporation to become the University’s new vice president of finance, Yale President Richard Levin said Monday.
After serving as a Corporation fellow for five years, Betts will replace Pepper as senior fellow of the University’s highest decision-making body. In their meeting last weekend, Corporation members also discussed the expansion of Yale’s homebuyer program and considered reports on campus buildings and grounds.
Betts, chairman and chief executive officer of Chelsea Piers, L.P., will now be the person to whom the President is most accountable, Levin said. Corporation members made a “consensus decision” in choosing their new leader, Levin said.
Betts said he is honored by his appointment.
“I’m proud and flattered, and I’m looking forward to taking this on in an aggressive way,” Betts said.
University Secretary Linda Lorimer said Betts will be an admirable leader.
“Roland epitomizes Yale’s tradition of leadership,” Lorimer said. “His is a career that has included community service and business accomplishments.”
Betts said he sees his new position as both an opportunity and a responsibility, especially considering the present economic climate. The current “lean” state of the economy means Corporation members will have to be more conscientious in managing and advancing Yale projects, he said.
“[As a member of the Corporation], you always feel the obligation of being a steward of a precious resource, that precious resource being Yale,” Betts said. “With this obligation, there are also more opportunities to continue to make Yale a great place.”
Betts said having an active Corporation is important to Yale’s progress. As senior fellow, Betts said his involvement in Yale activities will increase. He said he is excited about playing a role in the implementation of academic review proposals, the renovation of residential colleges, the revamping of Science Hill, and other Yale projects.
“My time commitment to Yale will increase dramatically,” Betts said. “I will spend more time in New Haven. I will spend more time with alumni matters.”
Levin said he is confident Betts will be a natural leader for the committee.
“I enjoy our relationship, and I’m delighted to have him in this position,” Levin said. “He’s tremendously warm and high spirited, and yet he has a solid and strong common sense.”
Betts said he is still adjusting to his new title.
“It’s all pretty new,” Betts said. “It’s got to settle in a little bit. I’ll now spend my time identifying priorities and making sure there’s a consensus between my views and President Levin’s.”
Betts was elected an alumni fellow in 1999. He is founder of Silver Screen Management, Inc., and is a director of the Lower Manhattan Development Corporation, where he is involved in the rebuilding of the World Trade Center site.
The Corporation also discussed the extension of the homebuyer program to West Rock and Fair Haven neighborhoods, Levin said. The homebuyer program provides $25,000 over 10 years to Yale employees for home purchases, a press release said.
“There was a lot of interest from residents in Fair Haven and West Rock,” Levin said.
Discussions centering around the construction of a new Yale police station and engineering center, the newly built Anlyan Center for clinical research at the Medical School, and next year’s renovation of Beinecke Plaza were also on last weekend’s agenda, Levin said.