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There is an unobtrusive bench tucked neatly into a corner of Yale's Old Campus. Its purpose is to honor of A. Bartlett Giamatti, the school’s former beloved professor of English and master of Ezra Stiles College, who left as the university's president in 1986 to assume the same post in the National League.
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The South Hadley, MA native who would eventually become the Commissioner of Major League Baseball, knew of the honor, but died unexpectedtly in 1989 of a heart attack while vacationing at his home on Martha's Vineyard before the completion of the project. His sudden death occurred a mere 154 days after assuming the baseball's top job, and just eight days after banishing Pete Rose from the national pastime.
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The work of modern art, completed in 1990 was a collaborative effort between sculptor Jim Sardonis and architect David Sellers. The semi-circular structure, the first original piece of sculpture allowed on campus in over a century, is made from Virginia Mist granite. Quotes from Giamatti's remarks about instruction and learning are inscribed on the work. In an effort to capture the relationship between students and teachers the bench consists two pieces.
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