Following Fareed Zakaria’s ’86 resignation from the Yale Corporation this Aug., Margaret Marshall LAW ’76 will take over as a successor trustee.
Marshall’s intelligence and prior experience working on Yale’s highest governing body as an alumni fellow made her the clear choice for trusteeship during the ongoing presidential search, University President Richard Levin said. Marshall, whose initial Corporation position concluded in 2010, chaired the Advisory Committee on Campus Climate following the Title IX investigation — an experience Levin said made her candidacy an easy choice. Marshall said she looks forward to returning to the Corporation, especially in light of the group’s task of appointing a new University President.
“The trusteeship committee met a little over a week ago and decided that Justice Marshall was such a good candidate to be involved in the process of the search,” Levin said. “She was basically ready for service since she’d been a trustee before. We figured there was no need for waiting so we brought her on right away.”
Levin said Marshall had been an “outstanding” alumni fellow and possessed valuable experience in university administration.
Marshall, whose previous Corporation fellowship spanned six years starting in 2004, also served as Harvard’s Vice President and general counsel from 1992 to 1996 and as the first female Chief Justice of the Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts from 1999 to 2010. She will serve on the Corporation for five years instead of the usual six due to rules requiring all trustees to retire by the age of 72.
Marshall said she feels privileged to have another opportunity to contribute to the University’s administration.
“My service on the Yale Corporation was one of the most fulfilling professional obligations, and I really do consider it a great great honor to be back on the Corporation again,” Marshall said.
Vernon Loucks Jr. ’57, a former Corporation senior fellow whose tenure from 1979 to 1993 included the appointments of Levin and former University President Benno Schmidt, said the current presidential search will occupy the majority of the Corporation’s time this year.
Marshall said choosing a new president is one of the most important decisions any university board of trustees can make. But she added that she is most excited to engage with students in her capacity on the Corporation.
When she last served on the Corporation, Marshall said she arranged a lunch with undergraduate and graduate students each time she was on campus in order to hear students’ thoughts on campus life. She added that she will have more time to spend with students in this term since she will not be balancing her Corporation duties with those of Massachusetts Chief Justice.
“If I could have one thing, what I would love to do is be an undergraduate at Yale right now — what a wonderful place to be,” Marshall said.
Apart from her experience working in university administrations, Marshall also has a rich background in law.
In 2003, while serving as Chief Justice of Massachusetts, Marshall authored the landmark decision in Goodridge v. Department of Public Health that prohibited the state from denying same-sex couples access to civil marriages, making Massachusetts the first state in the nation to legalize gay marriage.
Marshall, originally from South Africa, earned a master’s degree in education from Harvard University, completing four years of doctoral study before coming to Yale Law School. She is currently a senior counsel at the law firm Choate Hall & Stewart and a senior research fellow and lecturer at Harvard Law School.
The Yale Corporation consists of 19 members: the University president, 10 successor trustees, six alumni fellows and the governor and lieutenant governor of the state of Connecticut.