Goodbye, Eli

Yale's president bails out to join a new experimental education project

Tears of nostalgia filled the Old Campus as Yale's class of 1992 tossed their tassels and bounded off to bright futures. Only later did they learn that President Benno Schmidt would be bounding along right after them. In a surprise announcement, Schmidt resigned his post after six troubled years to lead the Edison Project, Christopher Whittle's bold $2.5 billion effort to build 1,000 for-profit schools.

His news brought few tears. Schmidt's brief reign as steward of Yale's fortunes was rocky from the start. When the former dean of Columbia University Law School commuted between New Haven, Conn., and home with his...

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