Paul Fry, who has served as the master of Ezra Stiles College since 1996, announced Thursday that he will retire from the position at the end of the 2001-2002 academic year.
Fry will remain a member of the Yale faculty, and University President Richard Levin will form a search committee to find a replacement, Fry said in an e-mail sent to all members of the Stiles community.
“It has been a great privilege to get to know so many remarkable people, to participate in a unique and vibrant community, and to have formed so many close friendships,” Fry said in the e-mail.
Fry, an English professor, has taught at Yale for more than 25 years.
Fry said family was a factor in his retirement. He and his wife, Associate Master Brigitte Maria Peucker, have an 18-year-old son, Spencer.
“With Spencer going off to college, it is a natural time for us to take a sabbatical and then return to full-time scholarship and teaching,” Fry said.
David Haltom, a sophomore in Stiles, said he was surprised by the announcement and sad to see Fry go. He said Fry offered solace and spiritual consolation after the recent terrorist attacks on the United States.
“On the few days after the Sept. 11 tragedy, he invited my roommate’s jazz quartet to come and play and it did wonders for everyone’s spirit,” Haltom said. “Master Fry did a really good job.”
As a Stilesian who lives on Old Campus, freshman Rebecca Ives said she has not had the opportunity to experience much day-to-day contact with Fry.
“It’s too bad that he’s going because he seems really nice and we won’t get to know him,” Ives said.
Another freshman, Yusef Syed, saw Fry’s retirement from a different perspective.
“He served Stiles well, though we should always welcome change,” Syed said.
Fry said one of his favorite parts about being master was bringing prominent guests to campus through Master’s Teas.
“My most memorable moments were Master’s Teas for Edward Norton, Jeff Van Gundy, Susan Sontag and Martha Stewart, together with the bittersweet emotions of graduation every year,” Fry said in an e-mail to the Yale Daily News.
In his announcement, Fry emphasized the energy and pride that Stiles students have in their residential college.
“The greatest asset of Ezra Stiles College is and always has been its unique spirit, and we know that the high-hearted moose will go right on fording the streams of life with its customary ebullience for generations to come,” Fry said.
Despite his departure at the end of the year, Fry said he is still committed to enhancing the life of the college during the current academic year. In addition to Teas, an arts festival, and other entertainment, he said he hopes to oversee the completion of the new Little Kitchen snack bar and to help design a larger common room with an improved outer entrance to the dining hall.
Masters are responsible for enlivening the social and educational environments of their residential colleges and shaping the character of college life.
Fry said leaving Stiles is not easy.
“What I’ll miss most about the college is the daily interaction with students,” he said.
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