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The Legacy of Dean Kyle Vanderlick

Dean Kyle Vanderlick

Dean of the Yale School of Engineering & Applied Science
Thomas E. Golden Jr. Professor of Chemical and Environmental Engineering

In January 2008, T. Kyle Vanderlick was appointed as the inaugural Dean of the newly established Yale School of Engineering and Applied Science (SEAS). Having arrived with a reputation for attracting undergraduates to the world of STEM, this appointment proved to be a watershed moment for science and engineering at Yale. Joining Yale’s Faculty of Engineering as the Thomas E. Golden, Jr., Professor of Engineering, Dean Vanderlick articulated the following vision:

“The establishment of SEAS will ensure strategic growth and enhanced research and educational opportunities in engineering, including the creation of bridges to other schools at Yale. It will also cement the integral role of engineering in a complete liberal arts education.”

Since then, the imagery of bridges has been a consistent theme in defining the School’s place in the Yale community. Through a focus on key engineering disciplines that are unified by a set of interdisciplinary priorities, SEAS is now widely regarded among the world’s foremost institutions as a destination for entrepreneurship, research, academic rigor, and innovation. 

The reemergence of engineering at Yale has attracted more than 30 new faculty members and has fueled vital capital improvements, including research space, state-of-the-art teaching facilities, and the school’s expansion to include the Department of Computer Science. According to President Salovey, two groundbreaking initiatives — the Center for Engineering Innovation & Design (CEID) and the Advanced Graduate Leadership Program — “have helped to integrate the school more closely with the wider university and have vaulted Yale to the forefront of engineering education.” 

The CEID now serves as a campus hub that draws students of all disciplines together to pursue both academic and personal interests. As one alumnus observed, “nothing has refocused Yale on its innovative potential like SEAS and the CEID.” Through this transformation, interest and enrollment in Yale’s engineering programs and student groups have flourished.

As a scientist and administrator, Dean Vanderlick has helped to shape research at Yale, ensuring strong SEAS participation in West Campus research institutes. One such initiative is an interdisciplinary project with the Institute for the Preservation of Cultural Heritage (IPCH), wherein conservators and scientists are collaborating on development of “gecko-inspired adhesives” for the restoration and preservation of important cultural artifacts.

In grateful recognition of her legacy in establishing the Yale School of Engineering and Applied Science as a bridge between the sciences and the humanities on the Yale campus and beyond, the Yale Science & Engineering Association, Inc. has created the “Dean Kyle Vanderlick Research Grant.” This grant will be available annually to Yale science & engineering undergraduates who demonstrate the values that Dean Vanderlick has exemplified throughout her tenure at SEAS.