Ivies inaugurate new presidents

Yale will not be the only school to swear in a new president this fall, as the upcoming inauguration of University President Peter Salovey will come just weeks after similar ceremonies at two of Yale’s peer institutions.

Salovey’s inauguration will take place the weekend of Oct. 12-13, with the formal inaugural ceremony slated for Sunday afternoon in Woolsey Hall. A range of festivities leading up to the weekend celebration will begin on Oct. 7 with departmental receptions and continue through the week with symposia, concerts and student gatherings. The celebration will come less than a month after Dartmouth College President Philip Hanlon and Princeton University President Christopher Eisgruber were sworn in as presidents of their respective schools.

According to University administrators, Salovey’s inauguration will showcase Yale history and ritual but also provide an opportunity for the new president to unveil a handful of projects he will pursue while at the helm of the University.

Yale School of Architecture Dean Robert A.M. Stern told the News last week that he believed Salovey would be “announcing two to three major projects during his inauguration.” He said one of these would be the continued construction of the two new residential colleges now that funding for that project has been secured through a $250 million donation.

University leaders have kept quiet about other projects Salovey will unveil, saying only in a press statement that the inauguration will showcase Yale’s “future aspirations.” Both Jonathan Edwards Master Penelope Laurans and Yale Spokesman Mike Morand ’87 DIV ’93 declined to provide details about the content of Salovey’s remarks.

The presidential inauguration is an opportunity for the University’s new leader to define a set of guiding principles for the coming years, Morand said.

“If you look at President [Richard] Levin’s address in October 1993 — entitled ‘our University and the wider world’ — you get a sense of the vision he set forth for his time as president: focusing on New Haven and Yale’s broader community,” Morand said. “Inaugural remarks are a prologue to the president of the future. They offer a strong vision statement.”

The inaugural ceremony itself is an invitation-only event in Woolsey Hall, but will be streamed online and broadcast in Battell Chapel and on Hillhouse Avenue. Salovey will be sworn into office by Margaret H. Marshall LAW ’76, the senior fellow of the Yale Corporation, and will receive the time-honored President’s Collar before delivering his inaugural address.

The wide range of events leading up to Sunday’s inauguration is in keeping with “Salovey’s commitment to making Yale both more unified and accessible,” Morand said.

Morand said this year’s schedule of events is designed to “include all of the constituents of Yale” while also welcoming roughly 1,000 visitors from around the world — including the president of the National University of Singapore, the vice-chancellor of Oxford and the presidents of an array of American Universities.

Inaugural ceremonies at Dartmouth and Princeton were similarly grand.

Hanlon spoke to a crowd of roughly 2,800 members of the Dartmouth community in his Sept. 20 address about the college’s rich traditions and revealed two new initiatives: the creation of a “Society of Fellows” program, which will bring postdoctoral fellows to the college to develop their research and gain practice teaching, and the establishment of an “Innovation Center and New Venture Incubator” that will provide resources to student entrepreneurs.

Together, he said, the two projects will further the college’s “academic enterprise over the next decade.”

Julie Solomon, a freshman at Dartmouth, said she enjoyed the day’s festivities but was put off by the more traditional aspects of the ceremony, including the “passing down of random artifacts.”

Tradition was also at the forefront of Princeton’s exercises.

Rather than announcing new projects for Princton, Eisgruber, a constitutional law scholar, used the Sept. 22 occasion to celebrate the University’s commitment to the liberal arts in an age of digital communication and the 24-hour news cycle — an age, he said, when “we talk in tweets.”

Nathan Eckstein, a sophomore at Princeton, said the events included much fanfare but “not many people showed up.”

Eckstein said it is his understanding that Eisgruber plans to continue to pursue many of former Princeton President Shirley Tilghman’s initiatives, including the Arts and Transit Project, which seeks to expand public access to arts spaces in the broader Princeton area. That and fundraising, he said, appear to be Eisgruber’s central concerns.

All three presidents were university provosts prior to assuming the presidency — Hanlon at the University of Michigan and Salovey and Eisgruber at their current institutions.

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