Hungerford named Morse College master

Acting Calhoun Master Amy Hungerford will succeed Frank Keil as Morse College master.
Acting Calhoun Master Amy Hungerford will succeed Frank Keil as Morse College master. Photo by Jacob Geiger.

Amy Hungerford will succeed Frank Keil as master of Morse College, University President Richard Levin announced at dinner Tuesday in the Morse dining hall.

Hungerford, the current acting master of Calhoun College and a professor of English and American studies, and her husband Peter Chemery, associate director of undergraduate admissions, will begin their five-year term as master and associate master of Morse on July 1. Levin said Hungerford’s current role of acting master made her a strong candidate for the Morse position, and several students interviewed said they were pleased with the appointment.

“She is a very active player in the University and has done a wonderful job as acting master of Calhoun College,” Levin said of Hungerford at the announcement. “I’m sure she will come to you well prepared to adopt your traditions as Morsels, and maybe add a few of her own.”

A New Hampshire native, Hungerford attended Johns Hopkins for both her undergraduate and graduate education, earning a Ph.D. in English and American literature in 1999. A specialist in American literature after 1945, Hungerford has taught at Yale since 1999, and she served as director of undergraduate studies in the English department from January 2009 to spring 2011. Hungerford and Chemery will move into Morse with their two children, Clare, age 10, and Cyrus, age 8, this summer.

Hungerford said she was “thrilled” to be appointed as Morse’s next master, and that she and Chemery will strive to meet the high standards set by Keil and his wife, Associate Master Kristi Lockhart.

“I hope that I can do as well as a teacher, as a mentor and as a companion-in-fun as they have done,” Hungerford said at the announcement. “It’s wonderful to be in what I consider probably the best job at Yale — to be a college master.”

The search for the new Morse master began in February, roughly one month after Keil announced his intention to step down at the end of the spring semester.

Steven Girvin, deputy provost for science and technology and chair of the search committee, said the committee collected feedback from Morse students and staff members about what qualities they would like in a master, as well as specific candidate recommendations, and presented its findings to Levin on Feb. 20.

“We got quite a bit of input,” Girvin said. “President Levin and Dean Miller seemed quite happy with the wide range of names that we came up with.”

Though Levin said at the announcement that the search was “really not that hard” because Hungerford, as an acting master, was already a strong candidate, he added that the names generated by the search committee will help administrators in appointing masters in the future.

Six Morse students interviewed said they were excited about the decision, and that Hungerford seemed enthusiastic at the announcement.

Kyle Aberton ’14 said he has heard “great things” about Hungerford from students in Calhoun, and that her “excitement and spirit” made him confident she would be a good Morse master. Nicole Endsley ’13 said Morse students are sad to see Keil leave, but will be ready to welcome Hungerford in his place.

“I got the impression that she was excited and happy,” Philip Engelke ’13 said. “I thought that was a good sign that she’ll bring a lot of energy and new ideas to Morse.”

In addition to other courses, Hungerford teaches the popular English lecture “American Novel since 1945.”

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