Bruce F. Carmichael, Deputy Dean of Great Service to Yale, Dies at 63


Known for his extensive service and commitment to Yale, Bruce Carmichael, Deputy Dean of the Yale School of Engineering and Applied Sciences, died on February 1 from cardiac arrest. He was 63 years old.

Carmichael came to Yale in 1979 for a master’s program at the School of Nursing after completing his Masters in Architecture from the University of Michigan at Ann Arbor. Upon graduating from Yale, he started working as Manager of the Cardiothoracic/ENT Patient Care Unit at the Yale-New Haven Hospital. Over the next twenty years, he swiftly ascended within the university administration to hold key positions in project management and development at the School of Medicine. In July of 2005, he was appointed as the Associate Provost for Science and Technology, a position he held until designated Deputy Dean of the School of Engineering and Applied Sciences in November 2008.

“Bruce was such a steady, loyal, hardworking servant of the University. His mastery of the details of each of his jobs was hugely impressive, and he made a powerful contribution everywhere he worke—in the medical school, the provost’s office, and engineering. … His passing is a terrible loss for Yale,” wrote President Levin in a message to wife and Assistant Professor of Emergency Medicine and Public Health, Linda Degutis.

Carmichael joined the Yale School of Engineering and Applied Sciences during a critical point in its history, when it had been revived as a professional school with an expanded faculty and had important projects such as the new quantum engineering building underway.

Close friend and Senior Director of Business Operations Jack Beecher gathered that Carmichael went to the School of Engineering because he saw an opportunity to apply many of the skills he had developed over the years. He noted that Carmichael always stressed minimizing hurdles for the faculty while keeping the interference of the administration at a minimum. “He really had an unequivocal respect for the responsibility of the faculty to set the course for the institution,” Beecher said.

Beecher further explained how Carmichael felt about his extensive ties with Yale. “Bruce felt privileged. He knew that the university was created by those before him [and] felt like a steward to it,” he commented. He added that Carmichael strongly believed that Yale had obligations beyond its walls.

Commenting on Carmichael’s personal life, Degutis explained that during his free time he had a passion for Scottish heritage and would research his family genealogy. At other times he studied art, art history, and literature to diversify his own education, one that he considered to be predominantly technical. He stressed that it was critical for engineers to understand the liberal arts. On weekends away from Yale and his studies, however, Carmichael, a keen sailor, was often found out in the seas. “We would go wherever the wind took us,” Deugtis recalled.

Perhaps the best description of Bruce Carmichael’s private life can be found within a reflection letter to his family: “I have seen more than I expected. This includes seeing our son married. I have traveled more than I ever envisioned. Traveling to nowhere in particular and back on a sailboat with a good wind is a delight beyond words. Exploring Scotland as I have is always rejuvenating.”

In addition to his wife, Bruce Carmichael is survived by his mother Betty Cary, his brother, C. Todd Carmichael, his sister, Sandi Carmichael, and his son Ryan B. Carmichael.