Elizabeth Howe Bradley, the Brady-Johnson Professor of Grand Strategy at Yale University and a visionary global health scholar, has been elected the eleventh president of Vassar College.
Over her more than 20 years at Yale, Bradley has garnered deep experience with residential college life as Head of Branford College, one of the university’s largest residential colleges for undergraduates, and broad leadership experience as the Director of Yale’s Brady-Johnson Program in Grand Strategy and as founder and Faculty Director of the Yale Global Health Leadership Institute.
A central focus of Bradley’s career has been improving health care delivery in the United States and through projects in Africa, Asia, and Europe. Her work, supported by the National Institutes of Health, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, and the Clinton Foundation, has led to revolutionary innovations in the delivery of cardiovascular care, long-term and end-of-life care, and health care management. Bradley has published more than 300 peer-reviewed papers and three books, including the acclaimed The American Health Care Paradox: Why Spending More Is Getting Us Less.
William Plapinger, Chair of the Vassar Board of Trustees, said, “Elizabeth Bradley has shown extraordinary leadership in all aspects of her remarkably broad career, combining intellectual commitment and rigor with vision, energy, and administrative talent. Across the varied areas of her career, she has been committed to bringing together people from diverse backgrounds to develop creative solutions to change people’s lives for the better. There could be nothing more resonant with our mission at Vassar College. I am confident Vassar will be made a better place by having Elizabeth Bradley as its eleventh President.”
“This is a critical time for leadership in liberal arts education, with many complex issues facing our campuses, our nation, and our world. With its strong intellectual foundation and its legacy of making a difference through action, Vassar serves as a model of high-quality, accessible, and innovative higher education.” —Elizabeth H. Bradley
Bradley was elected unanimously by the Vassar College Board of Trustees on January 10. She will succeed Catharine Hill, who stepped down in August 2016 after ten years as president. Since that time, Jonathan Chenette, Dean of the Faculty, has served as Interim President. Bradley’s term will begin July 1, 2017. Her selection comes after eight months of a national search by the college’s Presidential Search Committee of trustees, faculty, and students. Bradley also will hold a joint appointment as Professor of Political Science and Professor of Science, Technology, and Society.
“I am thrilled to have been elected the eleventh president of Vassar College. This is a critical time for leadership in liberal arts education, with many complex issues facing our campuses, our nation, and our world. With its strong intellectual foundation and its legacy of making a difference through action, Vassar serves as a model of high-quality, accessible, and innovative higher education. Working with students here in the U.S. and globally, I have seen how access to higher education changes lives, and it makes me even more committed to making certain we maintain Vassar as a diverse and inclusive community. I look forward to being part of the continued progress of this remarkable institution,” said Bradley.
Yale University President Peter Salovey said, “From her arrival on our campus, Professor Bradley has been a champion for innovation and interdisciplinary collaboration. She has enriched immeasurably the life of our campus community and will be missed as a visionary researcher, beloved teacher, wise mentor, trusted leader, and invaluable colleague.”
Since the beginning of 2016, Bradley has been the Director of the Brady-Johnson Program in Grand Strategy at Yale, a university-wide, interdisciplinary program primarily for undergraduates, whose goal is to train emerging leaders. The program, which employs a comprehensive approach to achieving large ends with limited means, examines disciplines such as history, political science, and classical literature as context to address a wide range of current-day challenges, including security, economic inequality, global health, and climate change.
In her role as Head of Branford College, Bradley has been responsible for the intellectual and social life of the college. She and her family have lived on campus with 450 undergraduates, developing programs to bring faculty and visiting scholars to the college and fostering its community. Bradley has served on multiple university-wide committees pertaining to student life.
Highly regarded for her international work as founder and Faculty Director of the Yale Global Health Leadership Institute, which operates education and research programs in China, the United Kingdom, Ethiopia, Ghana, Liberia, Rwanda, and South Africa, Bradley has led teams that contributed to transforming Ethiopia’s health care system, enhancing the quality of hospital management and availability of primary care. Since 2009, Bradley and the Global Health Leadership Institute have provided leadership and management education that empowers low-income communities and countries to improve health outcomes.
Prior to her work at Yale, Bradley was a hospital administrator at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston, where she helped lead the first generation of quality improvement efforts as part of the National Demonstration in Quality Improvement in Health Care, the inspiration for much of her subsequent research.
Bradley grew up in New Britain, Connecticut. She focused on economics and art history as an undergraduate, graduating magna cum laude from Harvard University in 1984. She earned an MBA from the University of Chicago in 1986, and a PhD in Health Policy and Health Economics from Yale University in 1996.
Bradley and her spouse, John Bradley, have three children, ages 24, 21, and 17. John has focused his career on urban community-building. He will assume the position of Executive Director of the Vassar College Urban Education Initiative beginning July 1.