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Deans of the Graduate School 1892 -

Deans of the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, 1892- present

Many notable scholars and administrators have served as Dean of the Graduate School at Yale.  GSAS Deans are chosen by the University President from within Yale's leading tenured scholars and graduate student mentors. While they have all ably led the students and faculty of   GSAS, their experience as Graduate Dean prepared many for other leadership positions in higher education at Yale, at other institutions, and in one case, in the governor's office of Connecticut. Their names are carved in the wall of the former Dean's office in the Hall of Graduate Studies. Many of the former Deans are interred in nearby Grove Street Cemetery along with other Yale and New Haven notables.

Arthur Twining Hadley, First Dean of the Graduate School 1892 - 1895; Political Economy; later Yale's 13th President, 1899-1921.

  • While post-baccalaureate or graduate studies began at Yale in 1847, it was called the “Department of  Philosopy and the Arts” until 1892. In that year, the Graduate School itself was formerly established.
  • Women were first admitted to study for degrees in  GSAS in 1892 under Hadley, and the first 7 Yale women graduated with  PhDs in 1894. Women were not to be admitted to Yale College until 1969.
  • Hadley was the first Yale President who was not an ordained minister. He is said to have guided Yale through a period of transition and consolidation.
  • Helen Hadley Hall, the first dormitory for women graduate students at Yale, is named for Hadley's wife, who provided guidance and hospitality to many students. during her time at Yale. 

Andrew Phillips, Dean 1895 - 1910;

Hans Oerter, Dean 1910 - 1916;

Wilbur Lucius Cross, Ph.D. 1889; Dean 1916 - 1930; English; Cross was a visionary Dean who created much of the school and system of graduate study that we know today at Yale.

  • According to Yale: A Short History, as Graduate School Dean Wilbur Cross “proceeded to attract the scholarly faculty and develop the policy of selective admissions, small group teaching, and personal supervision which have distinguished its work in the arts and sciences.”
  • He advocated successfully for the creation of the Hall of Graduate Studies as a home for graduate school and its students.
  • He served as Acting Provost and GS Dean for 1 year, resigning from the provostship to continue to advocate for the Graduate School.
  • In 1930, he reached the then-mandatory retirement age of 70 and retired from Yale. Long active in politics, he immediately ran for and was elected governor of the state of Connecticut, serving for 4 successive terms during the Great Depression (1931-39).
  • His image is imprinted in the stonework, bricks and the painted ceiling at HGS. Other places at Yale, in New Haven and in CT are named for him.

Edgar Stevenson Furniss, 1930 - 1950; Economics. 

  • The longest serving GS Dean, Furniss was credited with continuing to improve the selectivity and quality of graduate programs.

  • Furniss lived in the 3-story Dean's suite on the 12th-14th floors in the  HGS Tower for many years. He entertained students and faculty there, and was even said to have housed noted African  American scholars in his guest suite when they could not find local accommodations due to discrimination.

Edmund Ware Sinnott, Dean 1950 - 1956

Hartley Simpson, Dean 1956 - 61

John Perry Miller, Dean 1961 - 69

Donald Wayne Taylor, Dean 1969 - 75

Jaroslav Pelikan, 1973-78; History of Christianity

Wendell Richard Garner, Dean 1978 - 79

Keith Stewart Thomson, Dean 1979 - 86;

Jerome Jordan Pollitt, Dean 1986 - 91;

Judith S. Rodin, Dean 1991 - 92; Psychology; became Yale Provost and later, President of the University of Pennsylvania

Richard C. Levin, Dean 1992 - 93; Economics; later became Provost and then Yale's 22nd President, 1993-2013.

Thomas Applequist, Dean 1993 - 1997; Physics.

  • Dean Appelquist is credited with moving the doctoral program toward full funding, and creating the McDougal Graduate Student Center and its student life careers, and teacher training programs for graduate students.
  • In 1997, he established the first graduate student government, the Graduate Student Assembly, by gaining approval from administration, faculty and a highly contested student referendum.

Susan Hockfield, Dean 1998 - 2002;  Neurobiology; second woman to serve as Dean; later became Yale Provost, then President of MIT, 2004-2012, the first woman and first life scientist to serve the Institute as President.

Peter Salovey, Yale PhD 1986; Dean 2002 - 2003; Psychology; later served as Dean of Yale College, Provost, and now 23rd President of Yale (2013- )

Jon Butler, Dean 2004-2010, History

Thomas Pollard, Dean 2010-2014, Molecular Cellular and Developmental Biology, and Molecular Biophysics and Biochemistry.

Lynn Cooley, 2014-present, ​Genetics. Read more about Dean Cooley.

-information compiled by Lisa Brandes, 2015, from various University and School sources.