Before Nov. 8, 2012, there was no need for distinction when referring to the only Yale president on campus.
But since the Yale Corporation announced that Provost Peter Salovey will assume University President Richard Levin’s position on June 30, 2013, the Yale community can now look to two leaders — a fact made clear when Salovey sent a Nov. 16 email to students from the email address firstname.lastname@example.org. While it is rare to have both an incoming and outgoing Yale president on campus at once, Levin said he will retain most of his responsibilities as president until Salovey officially takes the helm of the University on June 30. One new responsibility Salovey will take on in the coming months will be overseeing personnel decisions, including the appointment of a new provost.
“We’ve been a team for the last four years,” Levin said. “[There are] many major decisions for the University I’ve been consulting the provost on regularly. In that respect, nothing’s different.”
Salovey was appointed Yale’s second-highest administrator in 2008, and Levin said he has involved Salovey in most major University decisions he has made during his recent tenure.
While there are no searches for deans or other major administrators currently under way, Salovey is in charge of selecting his replacement provost. In addition to his provostial responsibilities, Salovey said he has begun to meet extensively with many constituencies on and off campus in order to hear “people’s hopes and aspirations for Yale’s future.”
Depending on when the next provost can step into the position, he or she may take office before Salovey assumes the presidency, Salovey said.
“Technically, [I become president] June 30, so it doesn’t make a whole lot of sense to wait until then,” Salovey said on Nov. 16. Once the new provost is in place, Salovey will meet with Yale’s constituencies “more or less full time.” He added on Nov. 16 that he does not know how long the process of selecting a new provost will take.
In the meantime, Salovey is starting to meet donors to prepare to participate in fundraising efforts, Levin said, adding that Salovey will be meeting with many donors before he officially takes the reins of the University.
Yale historian Gaddis Smith ’54 GRD ’61 said he does not expect Salovey to be vocal about any major decisions before he steps into the office, adding that he thinks his and Levin’s positive relationship will continue this year.
“I don’t think that incoming presidents are likely to be outspoken with an incumbent president still in office,” Smith said. “It isn’t quite as ruthless as it can be in the White House.”
Penelope Laurans, master of Jonathan Edwards College and special assistant to the president, said Levin and Salovey will use their relationship as close colleagues to make a smooth transition in leadership.
Levin announced he would step down as president on Aug. 30.