Yale University

Dean of Grace Hopper College April Ruiz ’05 will leave Yale later this year to serve as an associate dean at Williams College, according to a statement released by Williams on Jan. 16.

The announcement comes almost a month after Ruiz informed the Hopper community in an email that she had accepted a position at another institution and would leave Yale after spring break. At the time that the News broke the story, though, Ruiz could not disclose details about the position because Williams had not formally announced the appointment.

“After conducting a national search, which took to heart the many thoughts and concerns shared by students and other members of the Williams community, I’m delighted to announce that the college has hired two new associate deans: April Ruiz and Chris Sewell,” Dean of Williams College Marlene Sandstrom announced in the Jan. 16 press release. “April and Chris will bring tremendous skills and experiences to our office and to their work with our students.”

Ruiz, who served as dean for four years, helped guide the Hopper community through a divisive renaming process, during which students, faculty members, administrators and alumni debated whether the college — formerly known as Calhoun College—should retain its nominal connection to U.S. statesman and outspoken proponent of slavery John C. Calhoun, class of 1804. The debate culminated last February, when the University announced that Calhoun College would be renamed in honor of Grace Hopper GRD ’34, a U.S. Navy rear admiral who made significant contributions to the field of computer science.

A first-generation college student herself, Ruiz also serves as dean of first-year scholars at Yale, an annual summer program for incoming first years from under-resourced high schools, many of whom are the first in their families to attend college.

“Dean Ruiz will bring many wonderful qualities to the position, including her wide-ranging experience of the challenges first-generation college students face and surmount,” Head of Hopper College Julia Adams said, adding that Williams is “an extremely lucky institution.”

Yale College Dean Marvin Chun will work with Adams to select an interim dean to take over for Ruiz when she leaves. Adams and Chun are also forming a committee to advise Chun in the search for a permanent dean, who will be appointed in time for the fall semester.

In the email announcing her departure, Ruiz thanked the Hopper community for the “relationships [she] will forever cherish.”

“My Hopper students have been such a light, and saying goodbye later this semester will be very hard to do,” Ruiz wrote in an email to the News earlier this month. “While I could point to a ‘big moment’ like the college’s name change as something that stands out to me, I think my heart will instead always turn to everyday moments … hilarious exchanges on my FroCo-team group chat, watching students play fetch with my dog, celebrating with my students when they got into a group or program they were hoping to.”

Grace Hopper was posthumously awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom by Barack Obama in November 2016.

Adelaide Feibel | adelaide.feibel@yale.edu