David Zheng, Senior Photographer

On Friday, Jan. 20, Dr. Margaret Clark officially informed the Trumbull community that she would be stepping down as Head of Trumbull College, a position she has held for a decade.

Clark first came to Yale in 2005 as a psychology professor. She told the News that although she will miss the position greatly, she is excited by the prospect of devoting more time to teaching, research and writing.

“Being witness to and being able to celebrate student accomplishments has been one huge joy [of the job],” Clark told the News. “I’ve heard wonderful voices singing, astonishing piano, violin, and cello performances and original compositions, watched gymnasts and swimmers, hockey players and others perform, poets and writers read their work, and chemists, biologists, physicists and others describe their work and make it understandable to a broad audience during Mellon Forums.”

Clark oversaw Trumbull during the COVID-19 pandemic, a time she looks back on with great appreciation for the students and faculty who worked with her to get through unprecedented circumstances. 

During the pandemic, Clark worked to maintain a sense of community and togetherness, helping out with socially-distanced pizza pickups, water-balloon fights, and study breaks.

As a leader, we all benefit from her humility, trustworthiness, generosity of spirit, and steadfastness; particularly during troubled times,” said Enrique de la Cruz, Head of Branford College.

Several students recalled how Clark put great effort into making students feel at home, safe, and happy during the coronavirus pandemic, overseeing the balance between student life and public health.

But at the helm of the college, Clark also made sure not to lose sight of the little things.

She personally held onto belongings that had been found missing in people’s rooms so that she could hand them back two years later,” remembered James Carrabino ’20, a past Trumbullian who was on the committee which oversaw her standard five-year reappointment in 2018. “It was clear that everyone adored her.”

The only area for improvement the committee found? She would sometimes run a moment late for meetings because she was so lost in conversation with her Trumbullians.

Clark hosted receptions, study breaks, and fireside chats at her house, describing a goal to make the place “a homey atmosphere.”

“When I think of Head Clark, I think of her in the middle of the Courtyard at Trumbull Formal, standing by the festively decorated tables in Trumbull’s dining hall during special dinners, and chatting with students in the backyard of the House, almost always taking pictures of students and staff or being in pictures with students,” reminisced Mary He ’24 YSPH ’25, Trumbull College’s Head Aide.

He added that she found Clark “direct, funny and warm,” a fount of support to the community in ways big and small.

Interviewees described Clark as caring deeply for the students she presided over, helping them out in any capacity she could.

She is incredibly empathetic and is always looking out for those students who do not have the easiest time at Yale,” said Carrabino. “She regularly invests huge amounts of her personal time in helping students in a capacity beyond her role as Head of College.”

He remembered a standout anecdote: a fellow student of his whom Clark had helped raise funds for so that they could fly to visit family after years away from their home country.

Martin Cobern PhD ’74, a Trumbull College Associate Fellow, also described her as a passionate advocate for students to have equitable experiences at the school, “regardless of financial status.” 

“Her shoes will be very hard to fill,” Cobern added. 

Trumbull College is located at 241 Elm Street.

Miranda Wollen is the University Editor for the News; she also writes very silly pieces for the WKND section. She previous covered Faculty and Academics, and she is a junior in Silliman College double-majoring in English and Classics.