On Thursday evening, University President Peter Salovey announced that anthropology professor Catherine Panter-Brick will serve as the next master of Morse College.
To a crowd of 100 students — who followed the announcement with enthusiastic cries of “Morse always wins!” — Salovey described Panter-Brick’s interdisciplinary research and multinational family. Panter-Brick, who has appointments in the Department of Anthropology, the Jackson Institute for Global Affairs and the School of Public Health, will officially begin her five-year term will on July 1.
Panter-Brick expressed excitement about joining the Morse community.
“I have a very strong sense of community, specifically community well-being, so I look very much forward to having conversations with you about your goals and aspirations,” Panter-Brick said. “And I’m thrilled to be here.”
Previously, Panter-Brick served as a faculty member at Durham University in the United Kingdom. A medical anthropologist, Panter-Brick has done extensive research in countries such as Afghanistan, Nepal and Saudi Arabia.
Panter-Brick will succeed current master Amy Hungerford, who announced her decision to step down as master in September 2014. Hungerford, who has served as master since 2012, decided to leave at the end of this semester in order to focus on her new role as divisional director for the humanities.
“It is always a wonderful and bittersweet moment when we have a change of mastership,” Yale College Dean Holloway said after Salovey’s introduction. “[Hungerford] is in many ways leaving too early. As we welcome a new family to Morse, I just wanted to give one more thank you for what the Hungerford family brought to Morse.”
Twelve students interviewed said they look forward to welcoming the new master, but noted that it would be hard to say goodbye to Hungerford.
Malini Gandhi ’17 said she is very excited to talk with the new master about her research, while Luca Eros ’18 said she eagerly anticipates getting to know Panter-Brick next year because of their shared background and academic interests.
“I like how she has a very international background and her interests seem very close to home, because I want to do psychological and humanitarian research,” Eros said.
Though Sierra Baer ’18 said she is intrigued by Panter-Brick’s background, she said she will miss Hungerford.
Hungerford was always attentive to student needs and made a point of being around the college constantly, Michael Liang ’16 said.
Emily Goldberg ’17 said the former master was “really nice and outgoing,” while Luying Yan ’17 added that Hungerford always made her home feel welcoming during Master’s Teas and other events.
Laura Miyares ’16 said she never felt intimidated while talking to Hungerford, partly because she “always is smiling” and has an approachable, lighthearted personality. Kate Bollag ’16 said she fondly remembers an instance in which Hungerford’s sense of humor was especially evident.
“She sent an email out to formally apologize when her son made a toilet out of snow in the courtyard,” Bollag said. “Her great sense of humor made light of the situation.”