Yale University President A. Bartlett Giammatti Thursday appointed Howard R. Lamar, an expert on the history of the American West, as dean of Yale College.
Lamar succeeds Horace D. Taft, who is retiring from the post to return to research and teaching.
Lamar has been on the Yale faculty since 1949. He has served as chairman of Yale's history department, and as director of the division of humanities.
Several members of the Harvard faculty expressed approval of Lamar's appointment. "Wow! That is one of the nicest pieces of news that I've ever heard," James C. Thompson Jr., Curator of the Nieman Fellowships said yesterday.
"He's an Alabama boy who has all the courtliness, warmth, and sensibility of the Old South and the fresh progressiveness of the New South," Thomson added.
"He's an active historian and one of the chief figures in the western movement today," Frank B. Friedel, Warren Professor of American History, said yesterday.
Lamar said yesterday that he thinks the next ten years will be the "crucial" period for American undergraduate education as it "takes on a new shape." He added that his major task would be to "ensure that the trends toward 'core' requirements do not knock out the innovative quality of undergraduate education."
"I still hope to moonlight on my research, perhaps between one and five in the morning," Lamar added.