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Yale University names Maurie McInnis as its 24th president

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Maurie McInnis, a longtime higher education leader and cultural historian, was named the 24th president of Yale University on Wednesday, becoming the first woman to be appointed permanently to the position.

McInnis, 58, is the president of Stony Brook University on Long Island in New York. She will succeed Peter Salovey, who is retiring and taking a faculty position at the Ivy League school in New Haven, Connecticut, after having led it for the past decade.

Yale said McInnis was the unanimous choice of the school’s Board of Trustees.

“A compelling leader, distinguished scholar, and devoted educator, she brings to the role a deep understanding of higher education and an unwavering commitment to our mission and academic priorities,” senior trustee Josh Bekenstein said in a statement. “Her experience and accomplishments over the past three decades have prepared her to lead Yale in the years ahead.”

McInnis, who starts her new job on July 1, has been Stony Brook’s president since 2020 and previously served as executive vice president and provost of the University of Texas at Austin and vice provost for academic affairs at the University of Virginia.

She is not new to New Haven. She has served as a Yale trustee since 2022 and received her master’s degree and doctorate at Yale, where she studied art history. Her scholarship has focused on the politics of art and slavery in the southern United States in the 1800s, Yale said.

“I look forward to many things when I begin my service,” McInnis said in a statement. “At the top of the list is to reconnect with those I know and to meet so many more of you. You make this university what it is.”

She added, “Our faculty members are not only international leaders in their own fields but also drive innovation in other academic disciplines and progress in other sectors. Our talented staff advance every aspect of our university and bring excellence to all they do. Similarly, our students excel in their studies, while also making Yale a richer community through their art making, advocacy, and deep engagement with the local community.”

McInnis said she plans to schedule listening sessions and individual meetings later in the summer.

She will take over leadership of an elite school founded in 1701 that now has a $40 billion endowment, about 12,000 undergraduate and graduate students, 5,500 faculty members and about 11,600 staff.

Yale and Stony Brook were among schools nationwide that saw protests over the Israel-Hamas war, and students at both campuses were arrested. McInnis did not mention Gaza in her comments.

At Stony Brook, McInnis said that while the school supported students’ rights of free expression and peaceful assembly, “protests and demonstrations will not be allowed to disrupt the academic environment, create safety issues, or violate university guidelines regarding time, place and manner.”

Earlier this month, a proposed censure of McInnis over the arrests of 29 protesters at Stony Brook was narrowly rejected by the school’s faculty Senate.

In a statement, Yale’s search committee praised McInnis for her academic leadership experience and scholarship.

“What excites me about President-elect McInnis is that she comes to the job as a practicing humanist in all dimensions,” said Jacqueline Goldsby, a professor of African American studies, English and American studies at Yale. “Her books on antebellum visual culture are award-winning and represent the incisive, rigorous scholarship Yale faculty produce and that we want our students to study.”

The committee also lauded McInnis for her work on climate change. She is the first board chair of the New York Climate Exchange and led the founding of an international climate change solutions center in New York City, Yale said.

Yale has had only one other female leader, Hanna Holborn Gray, who served as acting president from 1977 to 1978. Yale later removed the “acting” designation after her tenure.

By DAVE COLLINS
Associated Press

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