In 2009, we arrived at Yale surprised at the few options for childcare on campus. We were junior faculty starting our independent careers and, as mothers of young children, knew that finding quality care would be essential for us to achieve our goal of one day joining the ranks of tenured female faculty in the Sciences. We are proud to have reached this milestone in the years since, but we also recognize that we did not get here without support.

In 2009, Frances Rosenbluth was a deputy provost for social sciences and, as a faculty member with three children, she recognized the need for faculty with children, especially women, to have options for childcare and school to successfully build careers at Yale. We met with Frances and immediately hit it off; she understood that women scientists with children were rare and needed support to negotiate what is often a few challenging years of a decades-long career.

Frances worked hard to identify a solution for the need for care for young children, especially those under three years old, where there was (and remains) insufficient capacity. One day, she called and said, there is a space in the Divinity School that might work, let’s go look at it. We walked into the space — it was being used as storage but still housed books on the wall and toys in the room from the previous daycare — a perfect potential fit.

With the help of then-Provost Peter Salovey, Frances, now Deputy Provost for Faculty Development, was able to get commitments from both the University and an anonymous donor keen to support working parents to renovate the space to build Yale’s first new affiliated child care center since the 1970s. The University then issued a request for proposal to identify a provider for the space and a committee of faculty and staff identified the Alphabet Academy, with their unique vision for childcare, as a great choice for Yale’s community.

In 2013, the Nest, Alphabet Academy’s beautiful New Haven campus, opened with three new classrooms for children ages three months to three years. This effort doubled the amount of care of infants under one years old and has benefited many Yale families in the past eight years. Frances also ensured mechanisms for the Provost’s office to partner with the Nest to set aside attendance slots for faculty recruitment and to subsidize childcare for those with financial need.  

These efforts are just one of many initiatives that Frances sparked and then pushed to completion. Her community-minded spirit and support of young faculty established a culture of greater inclusivity for families during her time with us. Frances will be forever remembered by many as a bright light that shined her attention on important issues at Yale, often on the part of constituencies with little power of their own. She was a rock-star researcher, teacher, advocate and friend. We know her spirit lives on in those that she inspired — she built a nest for all of us.

MEGAN KING is an Associate Professor of Cell Biology and of Molecular, Cellular and Development Biology. Contact her at VALERIE HORSLEY is an Associate Professor of Molecular, Cellular, and Developmental Biology and Associate Professor of Dermatology. Contact her at