Announcement of new Branford Head of College

June 23, 2017

With the departure of Prof. Elizabeth Bradley, President Salovey announced the appointment of Prof. Enrique De La Cruz as the new Head of Branford College beginning July 1, 2017. Here is the announcement:

To the Branford College Community,

We are delighted to announce the appointment of Enrique M. De La Cruz, professor of molecular biophysics and biochemistry, as Branford’s next head of college for a five-year term, effective July 1, 2017.

Professor De La Cruz is recognized internationally for his research on the proteins that drive cell movement, intracellular cargo transport, and the folding and function of RNA. He has published over 90 research papers and review articles, and won numerous awards and honors for both teaching and research. This year, he received the Emily M. Gray Teaching Award from the Biophysical Society for “promotion of diversity in science and education and tireless efforts as an inspiring ambassador of biophysics.” 

Equally important to his scientific contributions and skills as an educator, he is a source of wisdom for students—regardless of whether they’re aspiring scientists or not—on how to succeed. You will often hear him say, “life has more to offer than simply what is handed to you.” He empowers people to take full responsibility for their academic and career choices and to overcome fear of failure. With his guidance, his students have gone on to successful careers in academia, industry, and civil service, taking the lessons they have learned from him to serve all sectors of society.

Professor De La Cruz is a first-generation Cuban-American born in Newark, New Jersey. He earned his B.S. from Rutgers University and Ph.D. from Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. Before coming to Yale in 2001 as an assistant professor, he conducted research as a Life Sciences Research Foundation postdoctoral fellow at the Pennsylvania Muscle Institute and Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania. He has also served as a visiting professor and scientist at leading international research centers, such as Institut Curie, ESPCI Paris Tech, and Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique in Grenoble. He credits his success to having thoughtful and inspirational mentors, including his Ph.D. advisor, the preeminent researcher and educator Thomas D. Pollard, who is now Yale’s Sterling Professor of Molecular, Cellular, and Developmental Biology and professor of cell biology and of molecular biophysics and biochemistry.

Professor De La Cruz will be joined at Branford by his wife, Leslie Carmin, and two children, Ezra Thomas (age 9) and Lucien Amauri (soon to be 6). Leslie studied art history and printmaking at Indiana University. She has worked as a curator, director, and print restorer in art galleries across the country, including those in our state. Since moving to New Haven, she has balanced being an artist with arts advocacy. As Branford’s associate head of college, Leslie is looking forward to working in the Branford studios with students and sharing her interests in hand-made books and graphic novels. She would also welcome collaborating with those in the community to promote cultural events in New Haven and the surrounding area.

Ezra and Lucien attend New Haven public schools. They will be bringing their love of soccer to the Branford courtyards, where they eagerly anticipate finding other players. Their cat, Tobo-Maury, will watch and show his affection with the disinterested attention that he has perfected. If you enjoy listening to Little Richard or the Gorillaz, please let the boys know—they are big fans.

The Branford community will be gaining a large vinyl record collection with the addition of the De La Cruz family. Professor De La Cruz has honed his extensive collection from shops throughout the U.S., Europe, and Japan. The local record shops know him well from his relentless searches for obscure punk rock and ’60s soul.

We wish to take this opportunity to thank the members of the search committee—Jay Ague (chair), Leslie Harkema, Stephen Blum ’74, Valerie Hansen, Dimitri Lippe ’18, Desmond Amuh ’18, and Rhea Kumar ’18—for their thoughtful work, and to reiterate our gratitude to Head of College Betsy Bradley and Associate Head of College John Bradley for their service to the college and its students.

Please join us in welcoming Enrique, Leslie, Ezra, and Lucien to the Branford community!

Sincerely,

Peter Salovey
President and Chris Argyris Professor of Psychology

Jonathan Holloway
Dean of Yale College; Edmund S. Morgan Professor of African American Studies, History, and American Studies