For Laurans, four more years

Interim master of Jonathan Edwards Penelope Laurans will stay on in a more permanent role, University President Richard Levin announced tonight.

JE students received an e-mail earlier today informing them that Levin would make an announcement over dinner in the dining hall. Levin said the students and fellows of the college he consulted about his decision were unanimous in their support of Laurans, who took on the role of interim master in January, 2009.

“I have been a 35-year fellow of JE and I love every part of the college — its history, its traditions, its ethos,” Laurans said in an e-mail to the News. “It has deep meaning for me to be the steward of this college and to try to continue what so many others have created before me.”

Laurans came to Yale in 1973, leaving an assistant professorship at Harvard. She has served many roles in the University — in admissions, the Yale College Dean’s office and the President’s office. She has also taught in the English department. She will remain a special assistant to the president and a lecturer in English alongside her duties as master, but she will leave her post as associate dean of Yale College.

Laurans accepted the position of interim master when the next appointed master, adjunct music professor Richard Lalli MUS ’86, suffered a brain hemorrhage. Though Lalli returned to teaching this fall, he announced this November that he would not be the next master of JE, saying he thought the post would be too much to handle while still recovering from a stroke. Levin said in November that he would start the search for the next master in the spring term.

Levin appointed Laurans for the next four years. Her official term will begin July 1, 2010.


  • yaleanon

    This article fails to state what Laurans’ title will be. Will she still be “interim master” or has she been appointed “master”? What does a “more permanent role” mean exactly? All masterships come with a term, typically five years. If she’s been named master, just say that!

  • Charles

    Master Laurans is wonderful and everyone I know loves her.

  • Serrato JE ’09

    She was a great master and I’m glad she will continue to be there.

  • alum

    I work for Master Laurans and I can tell you she is really “all that.” Funny, compassionate, totally involved and very caring. JE is very lucky to have her!

  • JE ’11

    Master Laurans is incredible at everything she does.