To the JE Community:
I forward to you all here as an enclosure (click on the url below) an announcement from Mary Miller, dean of Yale College, reporting on the hiring of Joseph (Jody) Spooner as the new dean of JE.
Dean Spooner, a Southerner who grew up on a small Florida farm, was a recruited high school baseball pitcher who blew out his knee. He started at Florida State and then transferred to Yale as a sophomore, where he received a degree in English in 1991. He has since had a varied career teaching and as an administrator in schools as different as a community college, a major state university, and Williams College, where he was the Director of Fellowships and was named administrator of the year.
In his thirties he had a mid-life crisis – and instead of buying a sports car, he decided to enhance his possibilities in the Academy by studying for a PhD. He is currently teaching and readying himself to defend a dissertation at the University of Edinburgh, where he will receive a PhD in History with a thesis on the role of W.E.B. Du Bois in the creation of a new Black aesthetic in the early decades of the 20th century.
To make this special announcement, I stood at the podium in the crowded Great Hall surrounded by Dean Miller and the committee, composed of Professors Michael Levene, Professor Jay Emerson, and four JE students –Malik Jones ‘13, Katie Stewart ‘14, Victor Macrinici ‘15 and Indrani Krishnan-Lukomski ‘15. (Dr. Janet Hafler was unable to be present but had met Dean Spooner yesterday.) One committee member held the JE flag, two held our special Tyng Banner, one held the Tyng Cup, one held the JE Commencement mace, carried by the Dean, and one held a plentiful bag of JE gear and gifts for Dean Spooner – a good idea since while at Yale, Branford was his college. Even Dean Miller peeled off her jacket to show that she was wearing a JE T shirt.
Not incidentally - although I swear we did not know this until after he was hired - Dean Spooner just happens to have been Branford's Head IM secretary, as well as the senior who received the Branford IM Cup at the 1991 Commencement.
Dean Spooner captivated the committee from the first moment we Skyped with him. He was articulate, warm, energetic, outgoing, devoted to his teaching and completely focused on the support and nurture of students. When we got off of Skype with him one student simply said, “Wow. He nailed that.” And he had. Dean Spooner then proceeded to nail every other interview with every other Yale administrator. And now he is our new dean.
Students in the Great Hall also cheered Dean Frailey, who took up from Dean Farley in January and has not missed a beat. He has guided, supported and cared deeply about students, helped us win at IMs, attended scores of JE events, and become deeply embedded in the JE community. He will be a spider forever.
JE always has a lot. This time we will have had three deans in three semesters. Unlike the Tyng, it is now time to stop! We are happy for Dean Farley, wish Dean Frailey well, and hope that Dean Spooner will be with us for a very long time, becoming yet another in the line of great JE deans. He will be at JE through Wednesday, and I look forward to many of you meeting him now, or at the start of the new academic year.