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What’s New at the Graduate School?

September 1, 2015

Welcome, New Students! The 2015-16 academic year is off and running…

The Graduate School welcomed its newest cohort of students on August 27 with a festive Matriculation ceremony in Sprague Hall. Faculty processed into the auditorium in academic regalia, accompanied by a brass ensemble from the School of Music. President Peter Salovey and Dean Lynn Cooley gave welcoming remarks, and the Citations – the Graduate School’s coed a capella group – performed.

The faculty and staff of the Graduate School will do everything they can to support you in your Yale career and help you launch your career after graduation,” said Salovey, himself a graduate of the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences and a former dean of the school. 

Your reasons for being here vary as much as the disciplines in which you will immerse yourselves,” said Cooley, adding, “You all share a common trait: You are driven by curiosity to learn more, by the thrill of discovering new traits about the world, and by the desire to stretch your imagination and create new knowledge.”

Following the ceremony, students had a chance to meet President Salovey and Dean Cooley at a reception on Cross Campus, and then everyone repaired to the HGS courtyard for a picnic. After lunch, new students attended Professional Ethics Orientation workshops. The Matriculation album may found on our GSAS Facebook page.

During the days before and after Matriculation, McDougal Graduate Student Life Fellows and the Graduate Student Assembly held events to welcome incoming students to New Haven and to Yale. The Grad Information Fair featured 70 campus and community services and vendors, including transit, banks, athletics, health, security, merchants group, and arts groups. The next day’s Activity Fair showcased student-run organizations and clubs, including athletic, cultural, ethnic, and religious groups as well as student government and volunteer opportunities in the community.

This year's entering class of 580 men and women earned their undergraduate degrees at 299 different colleges and universities and hail from 43 countries around the world. In addition to 326 students from the United States, 109 students come from China, 24 from India, 14 from South Korea, and 9 from the United Kingdom. Most of the students (433) are enrolled in doctoral programs; the remaining 151 are pursuing master's degrees. The youngest is only 19, enrolled in the Mathematics Department. The oldest, 45, is studying Management. Six new students were undergraduates at Yale. Fourteen come from Tsinghua University and thirteen from Peking University. Eleven earned bachelor’s degrees at Princeton and ten at Columbia. 

In Other News

Over the summer, most of the Graduate School’s administrative offices moved from the Hall of Graduate Studies on York Street to Warner House, 1 Hillhouse Avenue.  The Dean's office, the offices of the Academic Deans, Admissions, Financial Aid, the Office for Graduate Student Development and Diversity (OGSDD, formerly called ODEO), and the Teaching Fellow Program are all now in the new location. McDougal Graduate Student Life and Graduate Student Diversity Fellows will remain in HGS for another two years, until a new graduate student center is created on campus.

Also over the summer, two key members of the Graduate School staff were given new titles and one office changed its name to reflect the full scope of its portfolio.

Allegra di Bonaventura (JD 2002, PhD 2008, History) and Michelle Nearon are now associate deans.

Formerly an assistant dean, di Bonaventura, will expand her work in academic affairs with the humanities and social science programs. An alumna of the Graduate School, she won the George Washington Egleston Historical Prize for her dissertation. She is the author of For Adam’s Sake: A Family Saga in Colonial New England, published by Norton/Liveright in 2013. The book explores the intertwined family histories of two men: Adam Jackson, a slave, and his owner, Joshua Hempstead, who lived in Connecticut in the 1700s.

Nearon has been assistant dean and head of the Office for Diversity and Equal Opportunity at the Graduate School since 2008 and is currently also Interim Director of the Afro-American Cultural Center at Yale College. Her focus has expanded beyond the Graduate School to include the professional schools and she will now assume the title of Associate Dean for Graduate Student Development and Diversity, working in parallel with Richard Bribiescas, Deputy Provost for Faculty Development and Diversity.

After working in both the aerospace and automotive industries as a research engineer, Nearon earned her PhD from Stony Brook University’s Department of Mechanical Engineering in 2000. She remained there until 2008 as an assistant professor of Mechanical Engineering and director of Recruitment and Diversification for the College of Engineering and Applied Sciences.