The University will open the Yale Jackson School for Global Affairs in 2022, marking the first time in history it has named a constituent school after a living donor.
Approved by the Yale Corporation this past weekend, the Yale Jackson School of Global Affairs, which will be developed out of the Jackson Institute for Global Affairs, will be the University’s 13th professional school. In 2009, ex-pharmaceutical businessman and philanthropist John Jackson ’67 and his wife, Susan, donated $50 million to establish the Jackson Institute under the condition that Yale consider transforming it into a standalone school 10 years later. Following a recommendation by the Provost’s Advisory Committee last November to create “an intentionally small school [of Global Affairs], with a focused mission and close interaction among faculty, fellows, and students,” University President Peter Salovey and Provost Benjamin Polak have solicited input from faculty members, administrators and alumni in town halls and meetings regarding the viability of such a school in the past five months.
According to Polak, Yale will raise the additional $200 million needed for the school and start recruiting Jackson School faculty members in the next two years. Because many alumni are enthusiastic about creating the Jackson School, the University will have “no trouble raising the funds we need,” Polak said.
“This is a great opportunity for the University to take its intellectual resources and have an impact on major world problems: war, peace, trade [and] development,” Vice President for Global Strategy Pericles Lewis told the News. “[Director of the Jackson Institute Jim Levinsohn] has been leading a terrific institution for nine years now and educating the students well, but this is going to take [the institute] to a totally different level because we would be able to staff it with top faculty as well as leading practitioners.”
According to Lewis, who was present at Friday’s Corporation meeting, members of the Corporation asked questions about faculty recruitment and fundraising for the new school prior to making a decision. Having considered the impact the new school would have at Yale and in the world, Corporation members were “extremely enthusiastic” about the recommendation in the November report, Lewis said.
In the report, the Provost’s Advisory Committee — led by economics professor Judy Chevalier ’89 — recommended that Yale require that all ladder faculty members at the Yale Jackson School of Global Affairs hold joint appointments at another professional or graduate school. Although 19 fellows are currently associated with the Jackson Institute, no ladder faculty hold appointments in the Institute. In an interview with the News, Levinsohn emphasized that “the interconnectedness of Jackson with Yale’s other professional schools” was key to the Institute’s success and added that the joint-appointment structure will encourage more collaboration across schools and disciplines.
“I think the model that the Chevalier committee has recommended … will ensure interconnectedness within Yale,” Levinsohn said. “Faculty [members] will be interconnected, Jackson students will take classes at other schools, and we will welcome … other students to take classes at Jackson.”
Per the Chevalier committee’s recommendation, funding for the Yale Jackson School of Global Affairs should ideally come from external gifts to avoid diverting resources from other University priorities. According to Practice of Management professor Stanley Garstka, the School of Management — Yale’s youngest professional school, established in 1976 — posed financial strains on the University’s central budget in the early days of its founding and had to repay Yale with funds from its endowment until the mid-1980s. To avoid a similar situation, the Provost’s Advisory Committee discussed ways to ensure that the Yale Jackson School of Global Affairs does not fall into a deficit, said two individuals with direct knowledge of the matter, who asked to remain anonymous because the Committee’s discussions are confidential.
Per the 2009 gift agreement between Yale and the Jacksons obtained by the News, the Jacksons committed to donating a large amount — at least equivalent to $40 million in 2014 when adjusted by the Consumer Price Index — if the University were to create a school of global affairs.
“The Jacksons have been and continue to be hugely supportive to first the Institute and now the School,” Polak said. “They will make another transformative gift and I think I’m happy to say that the gift will be transformative.”
Polak declined to comment on the specific amount of the gift from Jackson.
According to the 2009 gift agreement, the University pledged to name the new school “the Jackson School of Global Affairs” if the Institute were to expand to a full professional school. While Yale’s Sheffield Scientific School — which merged with the College until it became relatively obsolete in 1956 — was renamed in 1861 in honor of Joseph E. Sheffield, a railroad executive who donated $100,000, the Yale Jackson School of Global Affairs will be the first professional school to bear a donor’s name in the University’s modern history.
In an interview with the News in November, Yale Divinity School Dean Greg Sterling urged members of the Yale community to carefully discuss the pros and cons of naming a school after a donor. Currently, Stanford and Princeton are Yale’s only peer institutions to have not allowed a school to carry the name of a significant benefactor, though Princeton’s Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs bears the name of the university’s — and country’s — former president. In 2014, Harvard University renamed its public health school after T.H. Chan in recognition of a $350 million gift from his son, Gerald L. Chan.
“[Naming a school after a donor] is the first for Yale but by no means the first in the US,” Polak said. “Yale is a little bit behind other universities in doing this. … What makes an appropriate name [for a school] are names of alumni or friends of Yale whose names represent ideals for us to we look up to, who have been tremendous citizens [and] who have been very supportive of Yale and have guided Yale. I think for every one of those criteria the Jacksons stand out.”
Polak added that while there is no threshold for how big a donation should be for the University to name a school after that donor, Yale will thoughtfully consider every case before trading naming rights for donations.
The Corporation first discussed whether to convert the Jackson Institute to a school during its February meeting.
Serena Cho | firstname.lastname@example.org