Laura Ospina, Contributing Photographer

The City of New Haven and the University honored New Haven community members and Yale-affiliates for their work strengthening the partnership between Yale and its host city at the annual Seton Elm-Ivy Awards on Monday.

Between presenting awards, University President Peter Salovey and New Haven Mayor Justin Elicker praised the increasingly collaborative relationship between the University and the Elm City. For Salovey, who cited the 2021 agreement to increase Yale’s voluntary contribution to the city, “there is no turning back” from the progress the two parties have made.

A diverse audience composed of high-level city and University officials, as well as New Haven community leaders, celebrated joint initiatives such as the creation of housing for early childhood educators, science career programming spearheaded by graduate students for New Haven high schoolers and Salovey’s commitment to education accessibility. 

Salovey, with a quip about his height, and Elicker, pulling out a pair of eclipse glasses to help with his “old age,” frequently drew laughter from the attendees. Deborah Stanley-McAuley, associate vice president of Employee Engagement and Workplace Culture and one of the honorees, said that the light-hearted nature of the event was reflective of the partnership between the city and the University. 

“I think [the jokes were] indicative of the community,” Stanley-McAuley said. “The more you work together, the more you work across boundaries, you do have that ability to laugh with one another and at another.”

A lifelong resident of New Haven, Stanley-McAuley said she was brought to tears upon learning that she had won an award. She was honored for her commitment in hiring diverse Yale employees and oversight of the Office of Diversity and Inclusion, a success she attributes to the collective effort of her team. Although Yale in previous years has fallen short in fulfilling promises to hire New Haven residents, Stanley-McAuley said that Yale is now exceeding its goals. 

Two of Monday’s recipients may be especially familiar faces to the Yale community: Salovey and Marta Moret, the president’s wife, who won two of the Special Elm-Ivy Awards. 

Detailing Salovey’s accomplishments, Elicker noted the President’s initiatives to increase education access to both low-income Yale and New Haven students, as well as the 2021 increase in Yale’s voluntary contribution to the city and the creation of the Center for Inclusive Growth. Elicker also praised Moret’s dedication to healthcare accessibility for communities of color, citing her work within the Fair Haven Community Healthcare Clinic and advocacy for reducing maternal mortality of mothers of color. 

Salovey recognized the irony in winning an award he has historically presented.

“Sitting next to the Mayor [I said], one of the things that has really characterized your administration is that it’s good government,” Salovey quipped while accepting the award. “There’s no patronage, no corruption. It’s really great to see clean government in New Haven. Meanwhile, here at Yale, we just awarded awards to my wife and me.”

Following a round of chuckles, Alexandra Daum, the new associate vice president for the Office of New Haven Affairs, which hosted the event, clarified that there was a “rigorous evaluation” of awardees. Elicker said that Salovey and Moret were not notified before final award decisions were made. 

Elm awards are traditionally granted to New Haven community members, and Ivy awards are reserved for Yale affiliates.

Among the recipients of the Elm awards are Henry Fernandez, lead New Haven negotiator for the 2021 agreement and founder of LEAP, a mentorship initiative for children from historically disinvested neighborhoods in New Haven, and Doug Hausladen ’04, current executive director for the New Haven Parking Authority, for his dedication to safe streets and transit equity. 

The Friends Center for Children, an organization that provides early childhood care and education in New Haven, was also recognized for building five homes for 10 of their educators in collaboration with the Yale School of Architecture. The employee housing project contributes to the Center’s overall mission of addressing the lack of state investment in childcare, according to Miriam Johnson Sutton, the head of programs at the organization.

“Zero through five are the most formative years for a child,” Johnson Sutton said. “Having a high quality childcare setting for children to thrive supports their families, serves our community and supports our workforce.”

Stanley-McAuley received an Ivy award, along with Derrick Gorden, an associate professor of psychiatry at the Yale School of Medicine and Susan Nappi, the executive director of the Office of Public Health Practice at the School of Public Health. Gorden was lauded for centering New Haven voices in community health initiatives and Nappi for connecting Public Health staff and students with New Haven organizations.

Hannah Foley ’24, graduate students in the Department of Immunology, and William Ginsberg, president and CEO of the Community Foundation for Greater New Haven, were also awarded. 

“Every single day, there are individuals at the University that are following their passion for supporting people in New Haven and much of today is about honoring high-level partnerships, but [also] acknowledging the individuals that work every single day to improve our city,” Elicker said. 

Established in 1979, the annual Seton Elm-Ivy awards took a hiatus in 2018 and resumed last year.

Laura Ospina covers Yale-New Haven relations and the Latine community for the City desk. Originally from North Carolina's Research Triangle, she is a sophomore in Branford College majoring in Political Science.