January 10, 2011
Dear SOM graduates:
I have been teaching at Yale SOM for more than 25 years and, since I became dean, I have traveled around the world describing the value of being a member of this close-knit and engaged community. Nevertheless, I am still capable of being surprised at just how strong the community is.
Most recently, I experienced this sense of surprise after the Alumni Town Hall Webinar I conducted in December. First, I was pleased that so many of you took time out of your busy schedules to hear an update on the school. Beyond that, I was impressed by both the insight and the good will evident in the questions you asked. After the webinar concluded, I received a number of thankful and encouraging messages—a reminder of the supportiveness of the community. (If you missed the webinar, you can view it online.)
I can think of many other examples. Read the article in this issue about the numerous alumni who have returned to campus to speak this year. The students gain tremendously from hearing about the experiences and life lessons of their predecessors. And I know faculty always appreciate seeing former students, now distinguished professionals, walking through the halls. Another example was the student government’s decision to bake holiday cookies and distribute them to administrative departments. This simple act got the holiday season at SOM off to a great start.
I’ve set it as my goal in this final year of my deanship to break all records for participation in the Annual Fund by having more than half of alumni make a gift. I see this as another expression of the strength of the Yale SOM community.
I also have some sad news to convey. Edward P. "Ned" Evans YC '64, who recently gave $50 million in support of our new campus, passed away a few days ago as a result of acute leukemia. We are very grateful that Mr. Evans chose to honor SOM with his name as one of his last acts. We were able to convey to Mr. Evans some of the many warm letters that I received in response to his gift, and I hope these letters made a difference to him in his last days.
Sharon M. Oster
Dean and Frederic D. Wolfe Professor of Management and Entrepreneurship