You don’t have to go to Yale to get a blue robe.
Representatives from colleges and universities from all over the world will attend Friday’s Tercentennial convocation, and they, too, will get to wear blue robes.
College presidents will come from as nearby as Albertus Magnus College and as far away as Belgium to take part in the procession of Yale alumni, students and faculty. The delegates are invited to the festivities at the Yale Bowl Friday night and to take part in Saturday’s symposium, said Janet Lindner, Yale’s Tercentennial director.
In all, about 60 presidents and top college administrators will be here. The University invited more than 200 college presidents to celebrate its bicentennial. But Levin said that inviting college presidents was not this year’s focus.
“We didn’t really make the kind of effort to get college presidents like 100 years ago,” Levin said.
Some presidents will not be able to make it, however.
Delegates from several Chinese universities were planning to attend, but the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks have curtailed travels, Lindner said.
“We invited international colleagues but unfortunately our Chinese presidents had to cancel,” President Richard Levin said. “The Chinese government was concerned about having so many educational leaders out of the country at once.”
The President of Fudan University in China, Shenghong Wang, will still attend because he is already traveling in the United States, Lindner said.
College presidents from Israel, Germany, Belgium and Poland will be here this weekend.
“Many international universities that we have either formal partnerships with, or just larger universities in the world were invited,” Lindner said.
Not all Ivy League presidents were invited. The heads of Dartmouth College, University of Pennsylvania, Harvard, Brown and Princeton will join Yale’s celebration.
“We invited Harvard as our predecessor, and Princeton as one of the 40 plus colleges founded by Yale graduates, to look back and look forward,” Lindner said. “We were delighted, given that both universities have inaugurations going on, that they were able to attend. It’s a tough week in the academic year to get people to travel.”
Harvard President Lawrence Summers and Princeton President Shirley Tilghman — both newly inaugurated — will speak at Friday’s convocation, along with Yale faculty, staff and student speakers.
“I’m coming because this is a very important event in the history of a great educational institution that is very important to the country, and I am returning a visit of President Levin who came to my installation last Friday,” Tilghman said. “I’m just going to extend some greetings and poke a little fun, and then wish you all the very best in the next 300 years.”
University of Pennsylvania President Judith Rodin — formerly Yale’s provost — will also attend.
Yale has also invited many Yale alumni who are top administrators at other schools, including University of Miami Chancellor Edward T. Foote II ’59.
Lindner said Yale invited presidents from every college in Connecticut. University of New Haven president Lawrence DeNardis called Yale “a close relative.”
“I think it’s a wonderful occasion to celebrate a significant anniversary for a world-class university in our community,” DeNardis said. “The fact that the University of New Haven in many ways owes its founding and early development to Yale as early business leaders, it’s a nice way of saying thank you.”