The Yale Corporation, or board of trustees, is the university’s principal governing body. In comparison to those at many other institutions of higher education, Yale’s board is small and plays a uniquely active role in university governance.
As fiduciaries, the trustees ensure that Yale’s academic and administrative leadership are guided by sound policies and practices, and equipped with adequate resources, to further Yale’s mission. In this work, they balance the needs of today’s faculty, students, alumni, and staff with those of future generations.
The Corporation has sixteen trustees: ten appointed successor trustees, each limited to two six-year terms; and six elected alumni fellows, chosen by alumni for staggered six-year terms. Successor trustees and alumni fellows carry the same responsibilities and duties. The president of the university chairs the board. In addition, the governor and lieutenant governor of Connecticut are board members ex officio. The Corporation has thirteen standing committees with responsibilities outlined in the by-laws.
The Corporation convenes in person several times a year to review and discuss issues with Yale’s academic and administrative leaders, and to vote on matters such as faculty and senior leadership appointments, the conferral of degrees, major building projects, and operating and capital budgets. During and between meetings, trustees consider issues of strategic importance, offer guidance, and gather information that supports the stewardship of the university.
While on campus, the trustees meet with members of the Yale community, including faculty, staff, and students. Some meet formally, in regular meetings with student government and faculty; and others informally, at lunches, university teas, and campus events. Off campus, trustees represent the university at events and engage on issues of importance to Yale and higher education in general.
To learn more about the composition of the board, its committees, its current and former trustees, and their roles, visit the Board of Trustees website. The site also features information about what happens at meetings and the governing and historic documents that guide the trustees’ activities and responsibilities.