Q&A with President-Elect David Yellen
On Saturday, Feb. 6, the Presidential Search Committee announced that David Yellen would succeed President Dennis Murray as the fourth president of Marist College. We met with the President-elect after the welcoming press conference on Feb. 8 to meet our future president and welcome Marist’s newest Red Fox!
Emily Belfiore: Congratulations on becoming Marist’s next president! Are you excited to be a Red Fox?
David Yellen: Absolutely! I think it’s one of the coolest nicknames and the enthusiasm that people seem to have for Marist and the Red Foxes is incredible. It’s a really cool mascot and emblem. I’ve already been to the bookstore and I have a hat and a sweatshirt. My wife, Leslie Richards-Yellen, is most likely downstairs buying more stuff for herself and the whole family.
Melissa Conlon: What were your first impressions of Marist and its students?
DY: I mean, overwhelmingly, the students seem bright and eager and enthusiastic about Marist. Just from the people that I’ve met and from online stuff like Twitter, I just sense this great enthusiasm. Someone that I went to high school with reached out when she heard I was appointed, and she said, ‘My daughter is a junior at Marist, we love Marist!’ and that just seems to be the most common thing I hear, so it’s great.
EB: How did you know that Marist was the right college for you to make your presidential debut?
DY: I knew that on paper it had a lot of things that interested me: the academics, the innovation, the beautiful campus. What I didn’t know until the interview process was the personal chemistry that would be there. It was obvious to me, and happily to them, that at my first meeting with the search committee I felt a great personal chemistry. And that has just started to grow with the more people that I’ve met. What was so appealing was the combination of the school being in such great shape, having a great future ahead of it, and people who really want to work together to continue to get better.
MC: Is there anything that you’re continuing from having been at Loyola for so long that you’re going to bring to Marist?
DY: In my 11 years at Loyola, they’ve been on a similar arch. If you compare when President Murray started, the school was struggling and he helped build it into this incredibly successful place. A lot of the same things have happened at Loyola under our president who has just retired. I learned a lot from seeing how he interacted with the different constituencies, set a tone and an agenda and really listened to people. I learned a lot from Loyola’s success and it has a lot of the same aspirations and successes as Loyola did so it’s going to be a smooth and easy transition that way.
EB: We have a selfie tradition here at Marist, do you mind if we take a selfie with you?
DY: Of course!
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