Dan Renzetti, Yale News

On Monday night, Michal Beth Dinkler spoke to Timothy Dwight College’s community for the first time as their incoming Head of College.

The associate professor of New Testament and Early Christian literature at the Divinity School will begin her five-year term on July 1, 2024, after the current Head of College Mary Lui announced she would step down following nine years in the role in January.

“When you choose curiosity and compassion over judgments, courage and connectedness over suspicion and fear — this is the work of community,” Dinkler told the crowd in the TD dining hall. “We can build trust and pull together through all of our beautiful challenging differences.”

Dinkler began at the University as a professor ten years ago, and her work focuses on religious studies and contemporary literary theory. She received her bachelor’s and master’s from Stanford University, her master’s of divinity from the Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary and her doctor of theology from Harvard University. She is also an ordained minister in the Presbyterian Church. 

Alongside Head Dinkler, her husband, John Dinkler, will become the associate head of college. Dinkler is a cardiologist with a doctorate in health policy and practices at Consulting Cardiologists, PC in Wallingford and is the director of outpatient quality at Hartford Healthcare’s Heart and Vascular Institute. Living in the college, the Dinklers will also be joined by their two children, 15-year-old Alethea and 12-year-old Daelen, and the family’s puppy, Atticus. 

“Professor Dinkler has had years of experience supporting students from vastly diverse backgrounds as they have prepared for vastly diverse futures,” Dean of Yale College Pericles Lewis wrote to the TD community in an email. “She is equally at home mentoring high school students and advising PhD students as she is guiding YDS students for careers as religious and nonprofit leaders, social justice and climate activists, artists, entrepreneurs, lawyers, and more.”

Lewis also wrote that, in recent years, Dinkler has served on the Divinity School’s inaugural Antiracism Task Force and overseen the grant implementing “the first-ever antiracist pedagogy trainings for YDS Teaching Fellows.”

Lewis ended his message by thanking Lui and Associate Head of College Vincent Balbarin, who led the TD community through the COVID-19 pandemic and some of the college’s “best moments.”

“It’s way way way too early for me to be saying goodbye,” Lui told the crowd. “It’s only April 8, people April 8, you have classes to go to, papers to write, exams to study for, so we’re not there yet.”

In her speech, Dinkler shared the story of whitewater rafting in Uganda with her husband and her raft flipped over in the Nile River, punctuating her anecdote that TD is the “life raft for all of us.”

She explained that current events on and off-campus can make life feel like when she was “alone in the rapids,” but the TD community can build trust with one another, and Dickler said she already sees this in TD with their confidence and creativity.  

Timothy Dwight College is located at 345 Temple St.

Correction, April 13: This article has been updated to specify that Dinkler traveled on the Nile River in Uganda, not on the Niger River.

Tristan Hernandez is the 147th Editor in Chief and President of the Yale Daily News. He previously served as a copy editor and covered student policy & affairs and student life for the University desk. Originally from Austin, Texas, he is a junior in Pierson College majoring in political science.