Jonathan Edwards College Dean Kyle Farley announced that he will leave Yale at the end of this semester in a email to Jonathan Edwards students Wednesday morning.
Farley will move to Sydney, Australia in December to oversee curricula and help with student recruitment at Academies Australasia, an educational group that serves international students studying in Australia, he said. JE students interviewed said they were surprised to hear of Farley’s departure and will miss his ability to connect with students. JE Master Penelope Laurans said in an email to the News that she will chair a committee of JE students and fellows to search for a replacement, but she added that she will miss him and his family’s presence in the college.
“I can’t imagine a better dean than Dean Farley,” Laurans, who has been a JE fellow for 35 years, said. “He knows how to bring out the best in people by asking them to think — about themselves, their courses and their lives.”
Farley, a history lecturer who is in his sixth year as dean, said he had been considering moving to Australia for a while because his wife is from Sydney but only made the decision to leave “very recently.” He added that he did not originally intend to depart halfway through the academic year, but his new job demanded that he arrive in January, the start of the Australian academic year.
“I’m really excited about moving to Australia with my family and embarking on a new adventure,” Farley said. “But I’m also really emotionally and personally invested in Yale, and I’m really going to miss my students, colleagues and friends.”
Academies Australia could not be reached for comment Thursday afternoon, local time.
Farley said some of his fondest memories as dean have been special events in Jonathan Edwards, such as Wet Monday — a “massive water fight” that pits freshmen against upperclassmen — and the events during Senior Week.
He added he especially enjoyed welcoming new students into the college and watching them grow during their time at Yale.
“As a dean, I know a great deal about my students — their passions, struggles, successes and hopes for the future — and I feel very personally invested in their lives,” he said. “It’s hard for any dean to leave.”
Farley also started a family while at Yale: He married his wife, Veronica, whom he had met as a graduate student at the University of Pennsylvania, and his two children, Serena and Jasper, were both born during his time at Yale, he said. Laurans recalled that when Jasper was born in September, he was raised in the air to the sound of Disney’s “Circle of Life” from the “The Lion King” soundtrack.
Five JE students interviewed said Farley was well-liked among students. Andrew Goldstein ’13 said Farley had become a integral part of the JE family and was “the father figure of the college.”
Ana Grajales ’13 said that she would miss how Farley had worked with the class of 2013 to make sure they stayed involved with the college, despite the high proportion of students living in annex housing and off-campus apartments.
“It’s especially sad to hear he won’t be here for our final year, and we’ll have to form a whole new relationship with someone that we don’t know as a class,” Grajales said.
Farley will serve as dean until the end of the semester, but Laurans said a standard system to find the interim and replacement deans already exists.
Laurans said the search for a new dean will be a collaboration between the college and the Yale College Dean’s Office, and Laurans will nominate JE students and fellows for Yale College Dean Mary Miller to appoint to a search committee. Upon the recommendation of the master, Miller could appoint an interim dean with no search committee required, Laurans added.
Farley came to Yale in 2006 after completing his Ph.D. in colonial history at the University of Pennsylvania. At Yale, he previously researched the college’s namesake, 18th-century theologian Jonathan Edwards.