The Yale College Council has finalized the first seven members for its inaugural Board of Trustees.
The trustees come from a range of positions at Yale, from faculty positions in the Yale School of Medicine to active members of the alumni network. The members are Yale College Dean Jonathan Holloway, Women Faculty Forum Chair and School of Medicine professor Paula Kavathas, Senior Counselor to the President and Provost Linda Lorimer, former Chief Executive Officer of the Clinton Foundation Eric Braverman ’97 LAW ’02, Senior Director of Strategic Initiatives at the Association of Yale Alumni Steve Blum ’74 and former YCC Presidents Rebecca Taber ’08 and Brandon Levin ’14. YCC President Joe English ’17 said members were chosen to represent all aspects of both the University and College.
“Our goal was to get a cross-section of the Yale community, so we have members from the University, college administration, faculty, alumni community and also the YCC alumni community,” English said. “By gathering such a broad group of trustees, we hope it will enable them to provide diverse feedback and guidance for the YCC.”
The creation of the board was announced earlier this month, along with a $750,000 endowment which will be overseen by the board members. The entire group will convene once a semester to discuss future policy initiatives and ongoing projects. Members will serve renewable three-year terms, and next year’s YCC board will have the option of adding one or two more members, English said.
The seven trustees selected have engaged with the campus community on a number of different levels during their Yale careers. Lorimer is a former member of the Yale Corporation, having served from 1990 to 1993 before becoming secretary of the body, a position she held until 2012. She also served as Yale’s vice president for global and strategic initiatives until stepping down last year. This past summer, Kavathas served on a faculty committee that reviewed the procedures of the University-Wide Committee on Sexual Misconduct and recommended policy changes. She said her experience in helping shape University policy would carry over to her work on the YCC’s Board of Trustees, as the YCC also influences University procedures.
Kavathas said she agreed to join the board because she enjoys working closely with undergraduates.
“I want to work with [the YCC] to accomplish their goals, and as time goes on, make some suggestions, but I am not starting with an agenda,” Kavathas said. “I think it’s great that there is this type of organization and I would like to help it be as successful as possible.”
In addition to having in-depth knowledge about both the University’s and college’s many functions, each member also has experience working with the YCC. Taber is the most recent female president of the YCC. During Braverman’s time at Yale, he served on the YCC as chair of the Undergraduate Organizations Committee. The YCC also regularly works with the AYA to bring together current students and alumni, according to Blum. Blum cited this year’s first-ever reunion of past YCC presidents, organized by the AYA and YCC, as evidence of the strong relationship.
Bringing Blum onboard as a trustee was a natural step, English said.
“There really is a crying need for institutional knowledge and continuity, and that’s what the Board of Trustees will try to be,” Blum said. “The AYA is charged with alumni relations … The YCC is a natural campus partner.”
The trustees met for the first time during the last day of classes before Thanksgiving break, Kavathas said. They met other board members and were briefed on the YCC’s current projects as well as prospective goals. The first full meeting of the board will be held in January, when they will be introduced to all the current members of the YCC executive board, English said.
During this meeting, he added, board members will also discuss the organization’s policy goals, policy reports that will be released in December and the bylaws which outline the responsibilities and obligations of the Board of Trustees.
“I am honored to have been tapped as one of the first members,” Lorimer said. “I am hoping we can be a useful sounding board as the YCC considers issues going forward.”
The YCC began compiling the Board of Trustees in October, and the last member signed on in November.