Corporation nominates two alumni

The Yale Corporation’s alumni fellow nominating committee has selected William Miller ’78 and Paul Steiger ’64 as the two candidates for a vacant seat on the Corporation, the University’s highest decision-making body.

Ballots and biographical sketches of the two candidates for the six-year term went out to alumni across the globe Friday via U.S. mail and e-mail, University Secretary Linda Lorimer said. For the second year in a row, alumni will be able to vote for a new alumni fellow over the Internet.

Yale Corporation Senior Fellow Roland Betts’ term as an alumni fellow ends this June. But Betts will remain on the governing body as a successor trustee, effective July 1. The Corporation is composed of 10 successor trustees and six alumni fellows. Successor Trustees are generally limited to two six-year terms on the Corporation and may elect their own successors.

Lorimer, who is an ex officio member of the nominating committee and oversees the distribution of the ballots, said she is pleased with the candidates.

“I think they’re two outstanding individuals, both of whom are leaders in their fields and have given substantial volunteer service to Yale,” Lorimer said.

Association of Yale Alumni executive director Jeff Brenzel said the committee aimed to created a slate of candidates who have achieved preeminent status in their areas of work and show a broad interest in other issues outside their fields, such as higher education.

“I think if you look at the slates going back around five years, we’ve had a high level of diversity in the candidates,” Brenzel said. “That doesn’t mean every single year’s slate carries a diverse group of candidates, but the committee looks at things over time.”

Steiger, a former editor for the News, has served as the managing editor for the Wall Street Journal since 1991. Steiger joined the Journal as a reporter in 1966 and moved to the Los Angeles Times in 1968 before returning to the Journal as an assistant managing editor. A current vice president of Dow Jones and Company, Steiger was also a 2001-2002 Yale Poynter Fellow.

“I’m delighted to be put up for the alumni spot on the Corporation, and I’m honored,” Steiger said, declining to elaborate further on his candidacy.

Miller is chairman and chief executive officer of the Irwin Financial Corporation, an interrelated group of specialized financial service companies based in Columbus, Ind., that focuses primarily on the extension of credit to consumers and small businesses. Miller, who received his M.B.A. from Stanford University, is also a member of the Yale University Investment Committee.

Miller could not be reached by the News.

Increasing numbers of alumni are flocking to the online voting system first used last year, which has saved the University considerable costs associated with mailing the heavy paper ballot, Yale Associate Secretary Patricia Zandy said. This year, Lorimer’s office reached its goal of signing up 20,000 alumni for online voting, Zandy said, noting the online system has appealed to a wide variety of Yale graduates.

“You would have thought that it would have maybe only appealed to young alumni, but it has been very well received by a broad spectrum of alumni,” Zandy said.

A new alumni fellow is elected to the Corporation each year. In a traditionally low-key process, alumni typically choose from the slate provided by the alumni fellow nominating committee, and nominees do not run public campaigns. For the past two years the alumni fellow nominating committee’s selections have not been challenged by any outside candidates, following the 2002 Corporation election, the most controversial in Yale’s history. That year, the Corporation’s alumni fellow nominating committee selected one candidate for the vacant post, Vietnam Veterans Memorial designer Maya Lin ’81 ARC ’86. But the Rev. W. David Lee DIV ’93, who began actively campaigning for the spot before the nominating committee chose Lin, gained a spot on the ballot by collecting signatures from more than 4,500 Yale alumni. The highly unorthodox election resulted in sparring alumni groups shelling out as much as $80,000 for or against Lee. Lin ultimately won the seat.

After the voting is complete in the current election, the name of the elected alumni fellow will be announced during commencement at the end of May, Lorimer said.

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