A man we will miss

It is a unfortunate that the article, “In Pierson, master’s departure to coincide with tightened budgets,” (Sept. 14) centered around an issue of budgets and money as opposed to the loss of a truly wonderful college leader. Master Harvey Goldblatt’s dedication to the Pierson community, close personal connections with students and passionate commitment to turn the college into a family are unparalleled.

No matter the reason for his shortened reappointment, the true story should be on Pierson’s loss of a spectacular leader that shaped many students’ Yale experience in a myriad of positive ways. More than funding, he has provided me with advice, concern and compassion. After Master G moves on with his career, I hope that future Piersonites find such a passionate mentor. I will have one forever.

Justin Berk

Sept. 14

The writer is a 2010 graduate of Pierson College and currently a student at the School of Public Health and a Pierson graduate affiliate.

The Yale baseball gift and me

Re: “Baseball gift may be returned” (Sept.1): As someone mentioned in the recent article about the controversy surrounding gifts given to the baseball program by John Mazzuto ’70, I wish to provide context and clarification regarding my role in the matter.

I served as the assistant coach and later as the associate head coach of the Yale baseball program from 2000 until September 2008, when I left Yale in order to pursue entrepreneurial interests and to provide a more secure future for my wife and infant twin sons.

During my tenure on the Yale baseball coaching staff, my responsibilities included alumni relations and, in particular, encouraging Yale baseball alumni and friends to support the program. In this connection I met Mr. Mazzuto, a former player on the Yale baseball team. Mr. Mazzuto presented himself as a successful corporate executive with an interest in supporting the Yale baseball program. In the course of our discussions, he told me that he wished to make a major gift to the program, which ultimately took the form of stock shares in his company, Industrial Enterprises of America. As I understand, Yale sold the donated shares of IEAM using the proceeds to endow the head baseball coaching position and establish a baseball practice field.

In February of 2007, Mr. Mazzuto told me that he wished to make a gift to me. Although I was flattered and grateful, I told him that I needed to consult with my superiors in the Department of Athletics regarding the propriety of accepting such a gift. These superiors advised me that accepting such a gift would not violate any of Yale’s procedures or policies provided that no commitment or suggestion of any benefit or quid pro quo was made in connection with the gift. As a result, I accepted a certificate for 5,000 shares of IEAM stock in August 2007.

I never sold any shares of IEAM and, as of this writing, am in possession of the original certificate. In a recent conversation with the current CEO of IEAM, I offered to return the shares without any payment or other compensation.

Throughout the course of Mazzuto investigation, I have cooperated fully with Yale and with the New York District Attorney’s office and I stand ready to testify if called upon to do so. At no time has there been any claim or suggestion by anyone that any of my actions, either privately or as a Yale employee, violated any law or Yale policy.

As an active member of the Yale community for more than 20 years — as a student athlete, a Department of Athletics intern, a member of the Yale baseball coaching staff and a loyal alumnus — I have met and worked with many talented, dedicated and inspiring individuals and I have had the privilege to coach and, I hope, inspire hundreds of Yale student athletes. In my new venture I work extensively with coaches, educators and Yale alumni in the greater New Haven area to develop and support youth sports programs. I am grateful for all that Yale has done for me, and I look forward to continuing to support Yale and the New Haven community.

Bill Asermely

Providence, R.I.

Sept. 14

The writer is a 1993 graduate of Pierson College and the former assistant coach and associate head coach of the Yale baseball team.