Courtesy of Blake Trimble

Not many people can boast living in monasteries and the personal training of Oxford’s elderly on their resumes. Morse College’s new dean, Blake Trimble, can. 

Trimble assumed the position on Feb. 2, over two months after former Morse Dean Angela Gleson stepped down in November. Trimble recently earned his doctorate in theology and religious studies from the University of Oxford. There, he acted as a junior dean for a number of Oxford colleges, most recently Hertford, cultivating the mentorship skills he plans to use in the position.

As the residential college system is a cornerstone of the Yale undergraduate experience, I have come to Morse College out of an eagerness to form part of an innovative and equity-focused community like Yale that encourages broad collaboration among faculty, staff, students and community partners,” Trimble told the News.

Dean Trimble spent six years working and studying at Oxford before joining Yale’s faculty. He explained that while he loves researching and teaching, he felt that he would miss out on the “real life challenges” of higher education. 

Students on Morse’s advisory committee said they liked Trimble’s youth, affability and community orientation.  Jamarc Simon ’24, a member of the committee, had specific criteria in mind for a dean.

“Approachable, personable, and empathetic,” Simon said. “Those three qualities would go far in any successful dean.”

Simon gave Trimble his final tour of campus and noted that even as a candidate, Trimble had taken the time to get to know Simon and his life at Yale. Indeed, Dean Trimble is already becoming a known figure around Morse. 

“In his first weeks so far, he has made an effort to try to get to know as many Morsels as possible their names, hometowns, and more information about them,” said Ramsay Goyal, Morse College Council president. “He has been constantly out and about around Morse, and is already a familiar figure in the dining hall.”

Dean Trimble lived many lives before coming to Yale: he has three master’s degrees from three different countries, experience working as a researcher in Maori communities and US automobile manufacturing plants and a knack for making origami cranes.

Though Trimble hails from Detroit — where he cultivated an appreciation for music suited to his classical tenor training — he has lived in many parts of the world and hopes to use his multifaceted background to connect with students from all walks of life.

“I enjoy learning what students are passionate about or what injustices they want to address in the world,” he told the News, “and then directing them to various opportunities or relationships that might help them leverage their skills and creativity in ways that might uproot systemic challenges in the 21st century.”

Trimble noted that Yale was an imperfect institution, but remained optimistic about the work he might do as a residential college dean. 

Despite challenges like racism, sexism and other forms of discrimination that may “make many students feel like they cannot bring their full selves,” Trimble told the News, he hopes to foster an inclusive environment within Morse. 

“As a dean, I aim to facilitate an academic community where students know they have support structures in place that they trust and allies for justice and equality that they know will create change,” Trimble told the News. 

Residential college deans serve for three-year terms.

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.