Students with a craving for sweets and schmoozing are in luck. Yale College Dean Peter Salovey will soon begin hosting weekly “Desserts with the Dean” gatherings at his new on-campus home near Ingalls Rink.
Salovey is currently moving into the century-old colonial manse at 202 Prospect St. that was previously occupied by his predecessor, Richard Brodhead. Beginning in mid-October, Salovey will randomly invite a dozen undergraduates each week to join him for casual evening gatherings at his new home.
“We are really excited about this ‘Desserts with the Dean’ idea where we’ll put random students together and have them up [at the house] regularly,” Salovey said. “That way students get to see what’s inside the house, we get to relax with students in a little bit offline kind of way, and we’ll all get to eat a good dessert together.”
Salovey, who replaced Brodhead as dean this summer, said his move on campus will bring him more in touch with undergraduate student life.
“We look forward to living essentially on campus because it really lets us participate in undergraduate student life, which tends to be an evening affair often,” Salovey said. “I think it will really help us keep our finger on the pulse on the campus and the University community.”
Historically, the dean had occupied an on-campus residence atop Hillhouse Avenue until former Yale College Dean Horace Taft decided in the 1970s to move out of the official dean’s residence. Deans remained off campus until 1998 when Yale purchased the 4,889-square-foot house on Prospect for $430,000 and Brodhead moved in, according to city records.
Yale President Richard Levin said he is pleased Salovey is continuing to restore the tradition of living on campus and inviting people into his home.
“[Brodhead] entertained a lot and I think Dean Salovey intends to do the same,” Levin said.
Salovey said he is a hockey fan and hopes to be a familiar face in Ingalls Rink during home games.
“We’re going to try to hit most of the major sports this year, but there’s no doubt that hockey will be the most convenient,” Salovey said.
He said he will maintain his personal home just over a mile away near East Rock Park because his wife Marta Moret runs a business out of their home. Salovey said he expects to entertain frequently and spend about half his time at his Yale house, which has seven bedrooms and four-and-a-half bathrooms.
“It’s a beautiful place to host groups of students as well as visitors as well as social events,” Salovey said. “One of the things that excites us about the house is that it can really be a place for relaxed socializing. It’s not so formal that it would intimidate people, but it has a lot more room for entertaining than our current house does.”
He said he will cater gourmet desserts from New Haven’s finest restaurants for his weekly gatherings with students.
“New Haven has such a wonderful restaurant scene that we’ll sample broadly,” Salovey said. “You can’t do too much better than creme brulee from Union League Cafe or carrot cake from Claire’s or crema catalana from Ibiza. Those would be good places to start.”
Several students said they are excited to talk with Salovey and his wife in a small setting.
“I think it’s a better chance for the students to hear what the dean’s ideas are,” Danni Wang ’06 said. “I think it makes a more congenial Yale society. Also, I think it’s a good adventure to see what the dean is really like and what he thinks of his job.”
Salovey has already spent a lot of time on campus, casually speaking with students, Emily Mathews ’08 said.
“I think it’s a good idea that he’s trying to get to know the students on a personal level,” Mathews said. “From the time I’ve been here, he’s been a real presence on campus. I saw him at Cultural Connections — he did a little presentation there.”
Weekly gatherings with students is a “good idea,” Lenore Ma ’08 said.
“I think it’s just good to know the dean on a personal basis,” Ma said. “It makes Yale in general feel more like a family.”