This fall, alongside a slew of other administrative changes University-wide, Branford College will welcome a new dean.
Branford Dean Hilary Fink announced in an email to her college Monday that she will leave her position at Yale for one at the University of Massachusetts’s Commonwealth Honors College. The change will allow her family to move to Amherst, where Fink’s husband, David Kawall, is a physics professor, also at UMass.
Fink, who was named to her deanship in the spring of 2010, said that while the position at UMass was “an offer [she] could not turn down,” the decision to leave Branford was incredibly difficult.
“It has been hard for our family to be split in two locations for so many years, so when the opportunity arose that would allow us to all live together full-time, we wanted very much to make this change, despite profound feelings of sadness at the thought of leaving the incredible Branford community that my family and I have come to love over the years,” she wrote.
Still, Fink said she plans to return to Yale to teach a few courses on a part-time basis and to see students in the classes of 2016, 2017 and 2018 beneath the Branford tent for their graduations in the coming years.
The search committee for Fink’s replacement has not yet been formed, according to Yale College Dean Jonathan Holloway, adding that Branford Master Elizabeth Bradley is putting together a group that will include undergraduates on campus for the summer as well as some Branford fellows.
The new dean will likely start in August, Holloway said.
Bradley said that while she and Fink had discussed the possibility of Fink moving to Massachusetts, she was sad to hear the news.
“Dean Fink has been one of my closest colleagues for the last four years since being in Branford, and I will miss her every minute,” she said. “Her commitment to doing what is right, her absolute devotion to the students, and her honesty and generosity have shaped my time with her and my worldview. I will miss her terribly.”
Anna Baron ’16, who will serve as a Branford freshman counselor next year, said she had been looking forward to working with Fink, especially after coming to know her better through FroCo-related events. Still, she added that she looks forward to welcoming a new dean in the fall.