Many in the Marist community were shocked by President Dennis Murray’s retirement announcement last year. His 37-year tenure has, undoubtedly, transformed the college, with enrollment quadrupling and more than $400 million being invested in the institution under his leadership. He was a well-known friend to his students, immersing himself in all aspects of the Marist culture — from athletics to fashion. (We even spotted him performing a split with renowned designer Betsey Johnson during the MaristXOXBetsey runway collaboration at New York Fashion Week). Needless to say, Murray has become an influential figure in not only the Marist community, but also in the Hudson Valley and surrounding area.
So it was only fitting that an extensive, year-long search for Murray’s successor would be necessary. On Friday, February 5, after a unanimous vote from the Board of Trustees, David Yellen was officially announced as Marist College’s President-Elect. The Dean and Professor of Law at the Loyola University Chicago School of Law, “[he] is one of the nation’s top legal educators, an innovative leader highly respected among his peers, and a man of great integrity and commitment to public service,” says Ellen Hancock, Chair of the Board of Trustees, in the official announcement made by the college. “His work as a law school dean, a faculty member, and an attorney gives him a unique appreciation of the distinctive blend of the liberal arts and pre-professional programs that define the Marist experience and positions him well to lead the College to ever-greater heights.”
Although Yellen is particularly distinguished in the field of law — he was ranked seventh on a list of the “25 Most Influential People in Legal Education” by The National Jurist magazine — I hope he can fill Murray’s shoes and appeal to the diverse student body.
As a part of Marist’s Pre-Law program, I’m personally excited for my college to elect a president of Yellen’s standing. The best part of a liberal arts education are the values that contribute to forming well-rounded adults, and it seems Yellen is committed to continuing that mission. “I’m so honored to have been selected as the next president of Marist College,” he says in a video produced by the school. “Succeeding Dennis Murray is a huge job, but with your help, I can’t wait to get started.”
Murray himself voiced strong approval of his successor, stating he “understands the unique nature of Marist, where we have blended the liberal arts with pre-professional programs to create a distinctive educational experience for our students. I am confident that his leadership and his impressive record of developing innovative ways to equip students for personal and professional success will serve Marist well in the years ahead.”
Yellen assumes his new role on July 1, 2016, while Murray will serve as the new President Emeritus and Professor of Public Policy at Marist. Watch the rest of Yellen’s address to the Marist community, below: