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May 29, 2024

Yale University names its 24th president

Contributed Yale University has named Maurie McInnis its 24th president.

Yale University has named its next president.

Maurie McInnis, who earned a Ph.D. in 1996 and currently serves as president of Stony Brook University in Long Island, will become the school’s 24th president as of July 1, the university announced Wednesday. 

She will be the first woman to lead the university in a non-interim role. 

McInnis will succeed Peter Salovey, who served for 11 years and is returning to the faculty full-time.

Josh Bekenstein, senior trustee and chair of the presidential search committee, said in a message emailed to the Yale community that McInnis was the unanimous choice of the Yale 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,” Bekenstein wrote on behalf of the full board. “Her experience and accomplishments over the past three decades have prepared her to lead Yale in the years ahead.”

The search for Yale’s new president was “robust” and designed “to cast a wide net and to gain different perspectives on the ideal qualities and qualifications of the next president,” he said. 

The search committee received input from thousands of students, faculty, staff, alumni and members of the New Haven community through listening sessions, individual meetings, webform entries and a student survey. It also consulted with leaders in and beyond higher education.

“The committee’s subsequent deliberations drew from all your comments and suggestions,” Bekenstein wrote in his message.

McInnis first joined Yale in 1989 as a graduate student in the Department of the History of Art.  The committee said it “was excited by a leader who brought new perspectives from around the country and cared deeply about the best of Yale’s traditions.”

McInnis has spent three decades in higher education, and has held teaching, research and leadership roles. At the University of Virginia, she was an associate dean and led academic affairs as a vice provost; at the University of Texas at Austin, she was the provost. And as Stony Brook’s president, she is responsible for the academics, research and operations of New York’s flagship university, as well as for Long Island’s “premier medical center,” which provides care for the entire region, Bekenstein said.

At Stony Brook, she also helps oversee Brookhaven National Laboratory, a U.S. Department of Energy facility for particle physics and nuclear energy, data and quantum information sciences. McInnis is also the inaugural chair of the board of the New York Climate Exchange and led the establishment of an international climate change solutions center in New York City.

As a scholar, McInnis has written and edited numerous books and articles focused on the politics of art and slavery in the 19th-century American South, and has co-curated and contributed research to exhibitions and archival projects, winning prizes and other accolades.

“Since her graduation from Yale, she has lived up to the mission of our university,” Bekenstein said, leading “with an unshakeable commitment to education and research for the common good.”

McInnis has also devoted herself to Yale, becoming a trustee in 2022, “volunteering her time and energy for our university’s future,” Bekenstein said.

She returns to Yale and New Haven with her husband, Dean Johnson, who is retired from a career in business, and their two children.

McInnis said her top priority upon assuming the Yale presidency “is to reconnect with those I know and to meet so many more of you,” she said in a statement. “You make this university what it is. The community environment that brought me to Yale was created by those who came before us and has been sustained and enriched by all of us.”

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