Yale University

Class News

Letter to the Editor of the Yale Alumni Magazine

by Thomas Barton '64
Summer 2003

I was further happily convinced of the effectiveness of Rick Levin's leadership when I read, finally, of the completion of the new CAB building at the Medical School ("A Neighborhood for Cures," Mar.). I hope the administration realizes that the building is only one step of many necessary to maintain Yale's place as a premier research institution.

For the last 30 years, Yale has seemed to have a resistance to building anything new and has only recently begun to maintain what it already had. Without facilities and equipment in the sciences, Yale cannot get the grants, the faculty, or the graduate students necessary even to participate in the marvelous process of scientific discovery we see all around us today, much less to lead it.

The one area where I believe your article was less than fully accurate was in its failure to more bluntly explain the competitive environment in which Yale science operates. It is not just a few universities that have built while Yale has slept. Over the past 30 years, all of Yale's traditional peer institutions, and many new ones looking for a place in the sun, have greatly expanded their capacity to assume leadership positions in scientific research, particularly in medicine. Meanwhile, Yale bioscience stood still and foundered to the point that it was in real danger of drifting from eminence to irrelevancy. The CAB building will momentarily halt that drift, but continued momentum must be maintained if Yale is to retain its traditional stature.

In Levin, Yale seems to have finally found a president who can herd all the cats and accomplish positive things for the university. I hope he keeps it up.

Thomas L. Barton '64
Los Altos Hills, CA