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On January 31, friends and colleagues of Jean Boorsch, professor emeritus of French, popped open bottles of A. Charbaut et Fils to celebrate his 100th birthday. Ensconced in a chair and eating cake, Boorsch looked very much the patriarch as he listened to the various generations of his successors compliment him and tell stories. He expressed his gratitude with Gallic understatement: “Often these things”—birthday parties—“could be a drag. This was not.”
Boorsch, who up until a few years ago did his own driving and attended most department events, arrived at Yale in 1934. He and a group of French compatriots, including the late Henri Peyre, Jacques Guicharnaud, and Georges May, brought the department worldwide acclaim. Born in Anzin, Boorsch studied at the Ecole Normale Superieure in Paris. He came to America in 1929 to teach French at Middlebury College. He returned to France in 1930 to fulfill his military service requirement, then returned briefly to Middlebury before coming to Yale. After World War II, he pioneered a total-immersion method to train Americans in French as a part of the massive U.S. reconstruction effort.
At Yale, Boorsch was especially close to Guicharnaud, who died last March at the age of 80. “They loved to reminisce about the old days in Paris,” says French department chair Edwin Duval. “Jacques would talk about the occupation and Jean would talk about the bombing of Paris. Jacques would turn to Jean and say, ‘Jean, you’re talking about the First World War, not the second.’” Boorsch still likes to muse about the past over a fine Beaujolais and steak tartare, says daughter Suzanne Boorsch, a curator at the Yale University Art Gallery. “But tonight, we’re going to Mory’s. You get a free dinner on your birthday.”
Three new members have been appointed to six-year terms on the university’s governing body, the Yale Corporation. Jeffrey Bewkes ’74, who has an MBA from Stanford, recently was named president and chief operating officer of Time Warner. He has spent 25 years in the entertainment business, most notably as CEO of Home Box Office when the cable network pioneered such original programming as The Sopranos, Sex and the City, and Six Feet Under. Donna Dubinsky ’77, who earned her MBA at Harvard, is best known for her role in introducing the first successful handheld computer, while she was president and CEO of Palm Computing. She also was a founder of the technology companies Claris and Handspring. Last year, she and Palm founder Jeff Hawkins started another new company, called Numenta, of which she is CEO. Fareed Zakaria ’86, the editor of Newsweek International, holds a PhD in political science from Harvard. A columnist for Newsweek and a frequent commentator on international issues, he is a former managing editor of Foreign Affairs and the author of the bestselling book The Future of Freedom: Illiberal Democracy at Home and Abroad. The three succeed Susan Crown ’80, Holcombe Green Jr. ’61, and Linda Mason ’80MBA.
President Richard Levin has appointed four faculty members to Sterling professorships, the university’s highest faculty honor. Maria Rosa Menocal, Sterling Professor of the Humanities, is a specialist in Spanish literature of the Middle Ages. In 2002, she published the book The Ornament of the World: How Muslims, Jews, and Christians Created a Culture of Tolerance in Medieval Spain. She has taught at Yale since 1986, and has been the director of the Whitney Humanities Center since 2001. Thomas D. Pollard, Sterling Professor of Molecular, Cellular, and Developmental Biology, has done pioneering work in the study of cell movement and division. A graduate of Harvard Medical School, he joined the Yale faculty in 2001 after serving as president of the Salk Institute for Biological Sciences from 1996 to 2000. Dieter Soll, Sterling Professor of Molecular Biophysics and Biochemistry, studies the fundamental mechanism of protein biosynthesis and the molecules that ensure the faithful translation of genetic information. He has taught at Yale since 1967. John C. Tully, Sterling Professor of Chemistry, spent 26 years at Bell Labs before coming to Yale in 1996. His research is aimed at developing a theoretical understanding at the molecular level of the dynamics of such processes as energy transfer and chemical reactions. No more than 27 active faculty members at a time can hold Sterling professorships, which were endowed in 1918 by a bequest from John W. Sterling '64.
The Association of Yale Alumni has tapped fund-raising consultant Mark Dollhopf '77 to be its new executive director. Dollhopf worked in the development office at Yale before co-founding Anderson, Cole & Dollhopf in 1980; the firm advised nonprofit institutions on fund-raising. He later started Janus Development, which counsels nonprofits on strategic planning, in 1993. Dollhopf is known to many in the Yale community as the founder and president of the Yale Alumni Chorus, which has undertaken four major tours with hundreds of alumni singers. He was awarded the Yale Medal in 2004. Dollhopf, who will start his new job in July, succeeds Jeffrey Brenzel '75, who recently became dean of undergraduate admissions.
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