David Francis, a poet, translator and longtime student advisor at Harvard, will be the next dean of Grace Hopper College.
Yale College Dean Marvin Chun announced the appointment in the Hopper dining hall during dinner on Monday, calling Francis “the absolute best person for the college.” Francis holds a PhD in Romance Languages and Literatures from Harvard, where he has advised students on academic and personal matters in various capacities since 2010.
“Ever since the beginning of the process, I was floored by how friendly and welcoming and deeply intelligent and magnificently capable you all are,” Francis told the dining hall crowd. “I fell for Hopper immediately.”
In an interview, Francis said he associates Yale with creativity and intellectual curiosity, and that the appointment was “a dream come true.”
Head of Hopper College Julia Adams told the News that the dean search started shortly after former Hopper Dean April Ruiz ’05 departed in March for an administrative job at Williams College. Fadila Habchi GRD ’18, a PhD candidate in American and African American studies, served as Hopper’s interim dean.
Francis was chosen after rounds of video and on-campus interviews conducted by a committee of administrators, professors and four Hopper students, Adams said.
“He brings everything,” Adams said. “He brings fantastic scholarship, which is really broad. In addition to his scholarly work, he’s also a poet. He has an immense number of extracurricular interests, many of which are interests that Hopper students share.”
Francis’s interests include oceans, outdoors, rowing, yoga and travel. A native of Florida, Francis comes from a large family and “loves dance parties in a kitchen packed with friends and family,” according to an email Chun sent to Hopper students after the welcoming event.
Hopper students who attended the announcement fell immediately for their new dean. Tyler Hart ’19 noted that Francis’s youth is an important factor and will allow him to forge close connections with students. That feeling was echoed by Kofi Ansong ’21.
“He is kind of young so it seems like he’s more in tune with students our age and he understands us on a more empathetic level,” Ansong said.
Francis studied French in Guadeloupe and Paris, and Portuguese in Salvador da Bahia and Rio de Janeiro.
Jingyi Cui | firstname.lastname@example.org