Calhoun College Master William Sledge will not seek reappointment to his position at the end of this year, he announced Sunday at dinner in the college.
Sledge, whose second term as Calhoun’s master ends this year, said in his speech to Calhoun students that he and his wife had never planned to stay on for more than one or two terms. Sledge, who this February was appointed the George D. and Esther S. Gross Professor of Psychiatry, said he will now have the opportunity to focus on his research and on running the psychiatric services at Yale-New Haven hospital.
“This decision now is more that we have decided not to change our minds,” Sledge said in his prepared dinner remarks. “There is nothing negative that we are reacting against. It is just time.”
Sledge has been with Calhoun since 1995.
In an interview with the News, Sledge said he will miss his interactions with Calhoun but is happy with what he has accomplished in building up the Calhoun community.
“The things that we’ve able to be a part of have been terrific, and the students are wonderful,” he said. “I’m sure I will miss it enormously — I don’t doubt that at all.”
Calhoun Dean Stephen Lassonde said Sledge’s enthusiasm and hard work made him a particularly effective community leader.
“Whatever it was that was going to work here had to be something that came from the students, and he recognized that vital truth about residential college life,” Lassonde said.
Lassonde said Sledge’s departure, while not unexpected, will require some adjustment by the Calhoun community, and himself in particular.
“He’s not just someone who’s really effective at his job but someone who’s really fun to work with,” Lassonde said. “When you build a partnership over such a long time, it’s hard to think about any other way to work.”
Sledge announced his decision at Calhoun’s dining hall during its family hour and received a standing ovation, said students who were at the dinner.
“A lot of people knew this was coming, but there was also this sense of sadness,” Justin Zaremby ’03 GRD ’09, a Calhoun graduate affiliate who also knew Sledge as a Calhoun undergraduate, said.
Sledge said he decided to announce his decision in person rather than through e-mail because he wanted to be able to talk with students about it.
“They were so generous and affectionate in receiving this information, though for some of them it’s going to be a disruption, and it’s not going to be a pleasant thing to have a new master and get used to a new person,” Sledge said. “But I wouldn’t expect any less, that’s how they always are.”
Jeffrey Shackelton ’05, president of the Calhoun College Council, said Sledge has been exceptionally accessible to students.
“Basically, he has his door open for everyone,” Shackelton said. “He treated students as friends, and it was always apparent that he really loved being around students. It’s visible, their love for this college.”
Associate Master Elizabeth Sledge “spearheaded” the effort to identify masters’ spouses as associate masters in official recognition of the amount of work spouses do for their college communities, Lassonde said.
Lassonde said he did not know when Levin would organize a search advisory committee, composed of Calhoun faculty fellows and students, to begin the search process for Sledge’s successor. Though he said he did not know when the committee will reach a final decision, Lassonde said from past experience it is generally considered desirable to make such announcements before spring break.
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