Wikimedia Commons

The Yale Corporation, the University’s highest governing body, must fill a vacancy left by Rhode Island Gov. Gina Raimondo LAW ’98 this year.

In early January, President Joe Biden announced that Raimondo was his pick for secretary of commerce. Per White House ethics rules, Raimondo has relinquished her position as one of 17 Corporation members, Associate Vice President of Institutional Affairs Martha Schall told the News.

In 2014, Raimondo was first elected to the Yale Corporation, which has wide-ranging powers, from setting the University budget to granting tenure and outlining capital projects. Raimondo’s resignation leaves a vacancy on the Corporation that the remaining trustees are now discussing how to fill.

“When a successor trustee steps down, the board elects a replacement based on a recommendation by the Trusteeship Committee,” senior trustee Catharine Bond Hill GRD ’85 told the News. “There is no set timeline for this process, but I would anticipate that a new trustee would be selected by the end of the year.”

Raimondo currently serves as the 75th governor of Rhode Island. Last week, the U.S. Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation approved Raimondo’s nomination for the secretary of commerce position, and the Senate will vote on whether to confirm her. If she is confirmed for the job, Lt. Gov. Dan McKee will take over her role in Rhode Island.

Raimondo graduated magna cum laude from Harvard University before becoming a Rhodes Scholar and earning a doctorate in sociology from the University of Oxford. After graduating from Yale Law School, Raimondo worked for venture capital firms before becoming the general treasurer of Rhode Island in 2010.

In her hearing before the Senate committee, Raimondo addressed American manufacturing, climate change and the economic crisis the COVID-19 pandemic has caused. Additionally, she promised to confront the politicization of the 2020 census — former President Donald Trump attempted to exclude undocumented immigrants from being counted in the census. The move faced legal challenges and concerns that it would affect how congressional seats are apportioned.

Raimondo’s resignation complicates an already unusual Corporation election year. Two petition candidates qualified for the 2021 alumni fellow election, in which all Yale alumni more than five years out from graduation can vote. One of the candidates, Maggie Thomas ENV ’15 — who was a climate policy adviser to Sen. Elizabeth Warren and Gov. Jay Inslee — has since withdrawn her candidacy because of White House ethics rules, as she was recently appointed chief of staff in the Office of Domestic Climate Policy. The other candidate, former mayor of Knoxville, Tennessee, Victor Ashe ’67, will run against the candidates that the University puts forward in the spring.

Raimondo’s communications team did not respond to repeated requests for comment.

The Corporation will next meet on Feb. 20.

Rose Horowitch | rose.horowitch@yale.edu