"I look forward to our journey with great confidence!"
- President David Yellen
On November 5, 2016, Marist College formally installed David Yellen as its fourth President in a ceremony in the McCann Arena attended by nearly 1,000 members of the College community, delegates from other colleges and universities, elected officials, and other friends.
President Yellen, who came to Marist after serving for 11 years as Dean of the Loyola University Chicago School of Law, succeeds now President Emeritus Dennis Murray, who stepped down in June after 37 years in office.
"The Board has tremendous respect for your reputation as an outstanding attorney, educator, and leader," Board of Trustees Chair Ellen M. Hancock said before formally installing President Yellen. "Your strong commitment to social justice and service is very much in keeping with the traditions of the Marist Brothers, and we are confident in your ability to lead this great institution into the future, while honoring its past."
In his Presidential Address, Yellen recalled when he was considering becoming a college president, "I was interested in finding a school that was successful, but not complacent; one that was rooted in the deep values of higher education, but committed to embracing change. I found all of that at Marist."
President Yellen went on to discuss the College’s many strengths, built upon the three core principles of its Marist Brothers founders: excellence in education, a sense of community, and a commitment of service. He also acknowledged the challenges facing all of higher education.
"So change is coming," President Yellen said. "The years ahead will not be quiet ones. They will not always be easy. But we should embrace the challenges and opportunities ahead on our journey."
Earlier in the ceremony, Kurt L. Schmoke, President of the University of Baltimore and a former Mayor of Baltimore, delivered the Inaugural Address.
"What a wonderful culture you have here at Marist,” Schmoke said, "a focus on blending liberal arts with pre-professional education; a commitment to quality research and teaching; recognition that your students are citizens of the world and not just the local area; alumni and friends who support the college in multiple ways; and a deep belief in the value of diversity. Those are great pillars upon which strategy is built. They comprise part of the Marist culture of which you should be proud."
Schmoke, himself a former law school Dean, went on to say of President Yellen, "you have selected one fine human being, and leader to be your President. I was once asked to describe David as succinctly as possible. My reply to that request was two words: optimistic pragmatist."
President Yellen's family -- wife, Leslie Richards-Yellen, and daughters Jordan, Meredith (who was unable to attend in person and so participated via video), and Bailey -- together read Edgar Albert Guest's poem, "It Couldn't be Done," which concludes "Just start in to sing as you tackle the thing that 'cannot be done,' and you'll do it."
Other speakers included Brandon Lee Heard '17, President of the Student Government Association; Paul X. Rinn '68, President of the Alumni Association; and Dr. Elizabeth L. Quinn '95/'95 MA, Associate Professor of Psychology and Chair of the Faculty Affairs Committee.
Inauguration weekend at Marist kicked off Friday with two symposia, "Social Justice: Reform and the Marist Tradition" and "Technology: Disruptive Opportunity." Marist faculty, deans, trustees, and administrators led dynamic discussions of these two important and timely topics. Across the hall in the Murray Student Center, meanwhile, dozens of students presented posters based on the kind of undergraduate research that is distinctive of a Marist education.