UVA Alumna Named Yale President

May 31, 2024
Portrait of Maurie McInnis

Maurie McInnis becomes Yale University’s 24th president July 1. (Photo by Dan Renzetti, Yale University)

A former vice provost for academic affairs and long-serving faculty member at the University of Virginia has been named president of Yale University, where she earned her Ph.D. in 1996.

Maurie McInnis earned her undergraduate degree in art history at UVA in 1988. She later spent nearly 18 years at the University in a professional capacity, first as a professor of art history, then director of American studies, associate dean for undergraduate education in the College of Arts & Sciences and, finally, as the vice provost for academic affairs until 2016.

Leadership Lessons Learned at UVA

“I spent most of my faculty career at the University of Virginia and had extraordinary opportunities there to work with a series of really great leaders,” McInnis told UVA Today.

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McInnis said she carries many of the lessons she learned at UVA with her. “I would say the most important lessons that I took away … were the lessons around collaboration, the lessons around listening to one another, building teams stretching across both departments and schools, to really be focused on the mission of the institution and how it is we can work together to leverage expertise from across the institution to achieving our goals.”

McInnis is Yale’s first non-interim female president (Hanna Holborn Gray was interim president from 1977 to 1978.) Many of McInnis’ years in leadership at UVA overlapped with the tenure of Teresa Sullivan, the University’s first female president. The experience taught her a lot, McInnis said.

“What I saw was a leader who remained resolutely focused, always on what was best for the institution. It was never about her,” McInnis reflected. “It was always about what is the best thing to do for the University of Virginia. And so, I have always tried to take that lesson with me in my own leadership opportunities. Now, that statement will be for me. ‘What is the best thing for me to do for Yale?’”

Portrait of Maurie McInnis

In 2008, McInnis, then an associate professor of American art and material culture and director of American studies, helped complete “Landscape of Slavery: The Plantation in American Art,” an exhibition at the University of Virginia. (Photo by Dan Addison)

A Unanimous Choice

In a May 29 statement announcing her appointment, Josh Bekenstein, chair of the presidential search committee and senior trustee of the Yale Board of Trustees, said the choice was unanimous. 

“A compelling leader, distinguished scholar and devoted educator, she brings to the role a deep understanding of higher education and an unwavering commitment to our mission and academic priorities,” Bekenstein said in the statement. “Her experience and accomplishments over the past three decades have prepared her to lead Yale in the years ahead.”

A Path Back to Yale

After leaving UVA in 2016, McInnis was the executive vice president and provost at the University of Texas at Austin for four years. In 2020, she began a four-year tenure as president at Stony Brook University, a public university in New York.

McInnis begins her role as Yale’s 24th president on July 1. Her predecessor, Peter Salovey, served an 11-year term and will return to the faculty.

Media Contact

Jane Kelly

University News Senior Associate Office of University Communications