Welcome Back, Class of 2020!
And Congratulations, Class of 2022!
A Farewell Message to Head Saltzman
I wanted to stay a few words of thanks on behalf of the administrative offices and those of us who have worked so closely with Head Saltzman over the past six years.
There’s a lot that happens behind the scenes to keep JE running smoothly, and these are unusual jobs that only those who have worked in a residential college can fully understand. Some of us, like Head Saltzman and myself, live in the college, and so life and work blend together, where students are not just our charges, but our neighbors, and co-workers, are not just our colleagues, but our friends. Even for administrative staff that does not live on-site, there’s no sharp line between life inside and outside of work; emails, texts, and calls happen regularly between us, after-hours and on the weekends to keep events on track, to manage unexpected crises and surprises, and sometimes just to check in. JE – and the JE community – are the center of our lives. This kind of collegiality, trust, and, I would say, friendship, are very rare, both generally—and particularly in a working environment—and we take our lead from Mark, who is always calm, always good-humored, always responsive, and always asks how we are doing in the face of whatever obstacle we have run into.
I want to share here a personal anecdote that I have been thinking about often in the past few weeks. I interviewed for this job in the summer of 2016, when there was an unexpected opening to be the Dean of JE. Much to my delight, and admittedly a little to my surprise, I was invited for an on-campus interview, one where I would meet, in person, the newly appointed Head of College, with whom I would work daily. It was an intense day, one that began at 9 am, and ended with a dinner with the interview committee. I met many members of the JE community, I was asked smart and sharp questions from students, faculty, and staff, and I was exhausted by the end. But all in all, I thought the day had gone well, as I had really felt how tight-knit JE was, I had heard repeatedly praise for the college over and over again, I had heard admiration and confidence in Mark’s leadership and I was reminded of one of the things I had always loved about Yale, namely that the people here are smart, and kind, and very special.
But I remember also one special exchange with Mark that has summarized so much about working with him and about life in JE. At the end of the day, when the interview was over and I was headed back to NY, I was saying good-bye, and
Mark turned to me shook my hand. Then, in that frank and open way that he has, he said, “I thought the vibe was good.” Mark, we will miss you every day, and it is very bittersweet to see you leave. On behalf of Gygi, Nicole, Jill, and Diane, we are happy to present to you with a collected volume of your Spider Bytes from 2016-2022, including all of your playlists. From us to you: “Yes, the vibe has been very good.”
Dean Christina Ferando