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The university hired Gwendolyn Sykes away from NASA last fall to become Yale's first-ever chief financial officer. Sykes, who was named one of Black Enterprise magazine's 50 most powerful women in business in 2006, spent four years as NASA's CFO, where she oversaw the financial management of the $16 billion agency. At Yale, she is responsible for the budgeting, accounting, and financial reporting processes.

Best-selling novelist Jonathan Safran Foer will be a visiting professor in the English department this semester. Foer, the author of Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close and Everything Is Illuminated, will teach a course in intermediate fiction writing and advise a handful of creative writing students. His September master's tea drew a standing-room-only crowd, and admission to his seminar -- which is capped at 15 students -- is expected to be a hot ticket in the spring.


Yale students Ben Eidelson ’08 and Isra Bhatty ’10JD are headed for Oxford next year as part of the newest class of Rhodes Scholars. Eidelson, a former North American Parliamentary Debate champion, will study philosophy. Bhatty, a graduate of the University of Chicago, will take a two-year leave from the Law School to study evidence-based social intervention programs.


Yale College's Chinese-speaking debate team won the International Varsity Debate series in Beijing in November, holding forth in Mandarin on issues ranging from bullfighting to college admissions. Debaters J. T. Kennedy ’09, Adam Scharfman ’08, Nick Sedlet ’08, and Austin Woerner ’08, none of them native speakers of Chinese, made it to Beijing by outdebating Princeton, Columbia, and Harvard earlier in the fall.


Eugene Waith ’35, ’39PhD, an emeritus professor of English, died October 25 at the age of 94. Waith was a scholar of Shakespeare and English Renaissance drama, and his research focused on the development of early modern dramatic genres. Except for a stint in the army during World War II, he taught at Yale from 1939 until he retired in 1983. He received the DeVane Medal for distinguished teaching in 1984.

History of art professor emeritus George Hersey ’54MFA, ’64PhD, an expert on Italian Renaissance architecture and sculpture, died October 23 at the age of 80. Hersey first came to Yale in 1954 to study drama, but soon realized his true interest lay with art history. He returned in 1959 to pursue a doctorate, and taught at Yale from 1963 until his retirement in 1998. 

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