Ballot released for new Yale Corporation Alumni Fellow

The polls opened yesterday for Yale alumni to cast their votes to determine the new alumni fellow to the Yale Corporation.

All alumni who received their first Yale degree at least five years ago can participate in a voting process to elect either movie producer Bruce Cohen ’83 or Vassar College President Catharine Bond Hill GRD ’85 to the 19-person Yale Corporation, Yale’s highest governing body, Secretary and Vice President for Student Life Kimberly Goff-Crews ’83 LAW ’86 announced in a Tuesday email to alumni. The newly appointed trustee will fill the position of Alumni Fellow Mimi Gates GRD ’81, whose six-year term expires this spring.

University President Richard Levin declined to speak about the individual strengths of each candidate, but said he admired their involvement with the University.

“I think we have two excellent candidates who are outstanding representatives to the institution,” Levin said.

Goff-Crews wrote that the Alumni Fellow Nominating Committee sifted through recommendations for more than 700 alumni leaders with various connections to the University before deciding on Cohen and Hill as the two finalists.

Cohen leads Bruce Cohen Productions, where he has produced films such as “American Beauty,” “Milk” and “Big Fish.” His recent film “Silver Linings Playbook” received a nomination for best picture at this year’s Academy Awards.

Cohen has also left his mark on campus by donating to the University to establish the Bruce L. Cohen Fund — a research grant in the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Studies Department that supports travel or on-campus events. He serves as the president of the American Foundation for Equal Rights, an organization that helped fund the Proposition 8 court challenge, which the Supreme Court considered on Tuesday.

Cohen could not be reached for comment Tuesday night, though a staff member at Bruce Cohen Productions said he was in Washington, D.C., for the Supreme Court hearing.

Hill received a doctorate in economics from Yale and currently serves on the Governing Board of Yale-NUS — the 10-person equivalent of the Yale Corporation for the new liberal arts college in Singapore. She became the president of Vassar in 2006 and has overseen Vassar’s adoption of need-blind admission policies since assuming her position.

The polls will stay open until May 19.

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