Director’s Letter

“I can’t adequately express how gratifying it is to observe so many visitors of all ages and walks of life—many of them first-time visitors—actively looking, learning, and lingering in our galleries.”

People are the central ingredient that bring any museum to life, be it the artists whose creativity has made possible the myriad works on display; the collectors who have, over time, generously entrusted artworks so that they might be shared with others; or, of course, the visitors themselves, who enjoy the resources of museums—ever-growing repositories of visual expression that speak to the astounding achievements of both individuals and whole cultures from the entire span of human civilization.

This past fall, during a dinner hosted by the Gallery’s Governing Board, David Swensen, Yale’s Chief Investment Officer, was honored for all he has done over his twenty-nine years at Yale. In accepting a well-deserved tribute, and hearing of the establishment of two Gallery positions being named in his honor, David, too, had something to say about the value of good people, legions of whom he has worked with throughout his tenure at Yale. David stated that it was the dedication of the many individuals he has met throughout his time at the University that has kept him so happy and deeply engaged with his mission to provide the essential financial resources needed by all those who study, teach, and work at Yale. Through strong collaboration with Dean Takahashi, Senior Director, Yale Investments Office; many brilliant fund managers; and all of the members of David’s staff, the market value of the many gifts that alumni and friends of the University have placed into the endowment has now grown to over $20.8 billion, while the Gallery’s portion of the endowment has grown more than five-fold—making David, in effect, Yale’s greatest fundraiser of all time.

Much as the Gallery principally functions as a place of active learning, so does the Yale Investments Office. Not everyone knows that David has always taken great pleasure in teaching both undergraduate and graduate courses throughout his time at Yale and has thus also trained and mentored a new generation of leaders in the field of nonprofit investment management. A recent article in the Chronicle of Higher Education described David’s widely known success as an institutional investor but paid equal attention to his work as a teacher and mentor, noting that the most successful investment offices at other universities are run by Swensen alumni, such as Seth Alexander, B.S. 1995, at MIT; Peter Ammon, M.A. 2005, M.B.A. 2005, at the University of Pennsylvania; and Andrew K. Golden, M.P.P.M. 1989, at Princeton University. As David has said, what better compliment could a teacher be paid than to have his students exceed his highest expectations? A more fitting legacy could not be imagined by anyone who genuinely loves teaching.

Here at the Gallery, where our senior staff also teaches and mentors our many talented interns, fellows, and assistant curators, we, too, take great pride in the accomplishments of those who either gain promotions within the Gallery or go on to become leaders at other museums. Most recently, we were pleased to wish best of luck to Cathleen Chaffee, who has served as the Gallery’s Horace W. Goldsmith Assistant Curator of Modern and Contemporary Art for the last several years, in her new position as Senior Curator of Modern and Contemporary Art at the Albright-Knox Art Gallery, in Buffalo. We are equally happy to have recently promoted John Stuart Gordon to the position of Associate Curator of American Decorative Arts and Molleen Theodore to the new position of Assistant Curator of Programs, generously funded by Jane and Gerald Katcher. These young staff members and others like them have had the opportunity to produce major exhibitions and publications here at Yale during the early stages of their careers. They have delighted all of us who have worked closely with them and have engaged both our visitors here at the Gallery and those who have attended our touring exhibitions or have enjoyed reading the scholarly publications they have produced—long a hallmark of the Gallery’s central artistic and educational mission.

So, onward we go, ready to have you visit with us whenever you have the time to do so, and thanking you for supporting the Gallery so generously and loyally.

Jock Reynolds

Henry J. Heinz II Director

Jock Reynolds, the Henry J. Heinz II Director, in the newly installed galleries of contemporary art

 

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