Saybrook College Dean Paul McKinley DRA ’96 announced in an email Tuesday that he will step down at the end of the semester.
McKinley, who has served as Saybrook’s dean for 13 years, said he is leaving Yale either to focus on drama and film or to build on his work as dean through writing, technology and advising. Saybrook students interviewed said they would miss McKinley both for his reliability as an advisor and his dedication to enhancing the college’s community. Saybrook Master Paul Hudak said the college has not yet begun a search for McKinley’s replacement.
“Dean McKinley is a stellar person and superb college dean, and we have worked together very well over the past couple of years,” Hudak wrote in a Tuesday email to the News. “It was very hard to hear the news, for all of us — students, staff and fellows. But he feels it’s time to move on, and we all wish him the best of luck in whatever path he follows.”
McKinley’s announcement marks the second time that he has stepped down from the Saybrook deanship. He served as the college’s dean from 1997 to 2003, before leaving his post to work in film production. He returned to the position in 2005.
This time, however, McKinley said it is unlikely he will come back. McKinley said he does not have specific plans for his time after Yale, and expects to spend five months exploring his options.
“13 years is a very long time to be a residential college dean,” McKinley told the News in a Tuesday email. “And while I consider myself very lucky to have been one for so long, I am looking forward to moving in a new direction now.”
Saybrook College Council President Cyndi Chen ’13 said McKinley was a mainstay at SCC meetings and always proposed new ideas for college trips and events, though he was best known for taking students in the college to Broadway plays and ski slopes.
Max Andersen ’14 said McKinley always made an effort to be available for students, either by being in his office or eating most meals in the Saybrook dining hall.
“It was nice to eat with him in the dining hall. It seemed like he’d always go out of his way to sit with students and interact with them,” Andersen said. “He always seemed genuinely concerned about our problems.”
All eight students interviewed said McKinley was an organized dean and one they felt comfortable approaching.
Five students also noted that McKinley was known as a sharp dresser.
“He’s definitely the most stylish dean at Yale,” said Andrew Hendricks ’14. “His suits are always tailored and fit perfectly. He always matches his colors.”
After stepping down from the Saybrook deanship, McKinley said he will most miss “the bragging rights that come with being in this college.”
Hudak will convene a committee of faculty and students to help choose McKinley’s successor and eventually make a recommendation to Yale College Dean Mary Miller, McKinley said.
Saybrook College was established in 1933.