Panel Discussion on Love and Relationships

By Wesley Yiin, PC '16 

A group of six esteemed Yale faculty members gathered on stage on February 14, 2013, to discuss love and relationships to an audience of various individuals within the university community. In the spirit of Valentine’s Day, the panelists touched upon proposals, children, and marriage, among other relevant subjects.

The event, which took place in Sheffield Sterling Strathcona Hall (SSS) 114, featured three married couples: President Richard Levin and Professor Jane Levin, Berkeley College Master Marvin Chun and Associate Master Woo Kyoung Ahn, and Professors John Lewis Gaddis and Toni Dorfman. Shira Telushkin, the Editor in Chief of Vita Bella—the student publication that sponsored the event, facilitated the conversation by posing questions to the group.

Throughout the event, Telushkin and the panelists remained lighthearted, and many of her questions yielded humorous responses. When asked about how he proposed, Professor Chun told the audience that he couldn’t remember because he had been rejected too many times, which caused Professor Ahn to nod in agreement and the crowd to erupt into laughter.

Despite the cheeriness of the event, some questions led to serious and passionate answers. When discussing how she and Professor Gaddis maintained their relationship following marriage, Professor Dorfman grew visibly emotional. “I hear his footsteps coming down the stairs every morning, and my heart just starts to beat,” said Professor Dorfman, eliciting some tears and a collective “Aw” from the audience.

Many panel members offered suggestions and guidance for students in relationships or those hoping to find love. Professor Ahn spoke about finding a “common goal” as being a crucial element to sustaining a relationship. She recalled how she and Professor Chun, both psychologists, sought employment at the same university—Yale—as a common goal.

Professor Chun gave some words of advice to students that claim that they are too busy for a relationship. “Life is too hard and too lonely to go at it on your own,” he said. He asserted that no one should count out the potential for love, adding that romance may spark simply through willingness to meet new people. "You could be the most successful and rich person in the world,” he concluded, “but if you don't have that close relationship, I think something's missing."

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