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Mother Yale

For 20 years, Betty Trachtenberg has carried around one of Yale’s most complex job descriptions. As dean of student affairs for Yale College, she has supervised the college’s ethnic cultural centers, managed a theater space for undergraduates, shepherded student organizations, run the committee that disciplined rule-breakers, brokered peace among Yale singing groups, trained freshman counselors, and acted as a kind of godmother to freshmen.

You might expect that such a job would make her a little frantic. Not so, say her colleagues. “You walk into her office and it has a very calming effect, says Joseph W. Gordon '78PhD, dean of undergraduate education. “Her office is tidy and her mind is well ordered. But her portfolio is all about calamities.

Trachtenberg will be retiring at the end of the academic year, it was announced in November.


As the most visible enforcer of the college rules, Trachtenberg has achieved a status among students that is somewhere between fame and notoriety. (A good sport, she once appeared as Darth Vader in a Yale Symphony Halloween show.) Controversy notwithstanding, one of her most important accomplishments has been to help shape the campus alcohol policy, which encourages students in trouble to seek help without fear of punishment.

“I think Betty should be remembered as a dean of students who always put the interests of students first, says Yale College dean Peter Salovey '86PhD. “Even when she was enforcing a disliked policy, she was not thinking about the institution first but about students.



Edmund Phelps '59PhD was awarded the Nobel Prize in Economics on December 10. Phelps was cited for work that has “deepened our understanding of the relation between short-run and long-run effects of economic policy. He helped change economists' view of the relationship between inflation and unemployment and developed a theory about how much an economy should invest in capital formation for the future. Phelps has taught at Columbia since 1982, but he did much of the work for which he was recognized when he was a junior professor at Yale between 1958 and 1966.

The University of Louisville has selected James Comer, the Maurice Falk Professor of Child Psychiatry at the medical school, to receive its 2007 Grawemeyer Award for Education, a $200,000 annual prize. Comer is known for his work in promoting effective education by involving parents, teachers, and administrators in the governance of schools. Some 600 schools around the country have adopted his School Development Program.

There’s nothing like being named “America's Hottest Female Law School Dean when you’re eight months pregnant. Ask Asha Rangappa '00JD, the assistant dean for admissions at the Law School. After her title was bestowed by a popular blog, she wrote: “It’s heartening to know that, despite the terrorists' attempts to destroy our way of life, a healthy objectification of lawyers continues unabated. A month later she gave birth to a boy. Law School dean Harold Hongju Koh dubbed him “America’s hottest law baby.

Five of next year’s 32 Rhodes Scholars are current Yale students: Avi Feller, Whitney Haring-Smith, Maya Shankar, and Amia P. Srinivasan, all of the Class of 2007, and Aaron F. Mertz, a doctoral candidate in physics. Betsy Scherzer '07 was awarded a Marshall Scholarship. Yale also boasted the most Fulbright Scholars (31) of any university this year.



Amy Meyers '85PhD has been appointed to a second five-year term as director of the Yale Center for British Art. Meyers is credited with the establishment of postdoctoral fellowships at the center, efforts to increase student involvement, and the creation of a preservation plan for the center’s landmark Louis Kahn building.  the end


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