After War Room, Heading Ivy League Classroom

Ann McClure's picture

On a recent evening in a classroom at Yale, Gen. Stanley A. McChrystal held forth for two animated hours on the conflicts in Northern Ireland and South Africa, with bits of his own history as the former top commander in Afghanistan thrown in. In earlier classes he covered the Bay of Pigs and Vietnam and, as his students tell it, recounted in mesmerizing detail the events in “The Runaway General,” the Rolling Stone article that cost him his job.

General McChrystal’s seminar on leadership is nearly as hard to get into as Yale itself: this past semester some 200 students applied for a coveted 20 spots.

“The first day I came here, they were expecting a demonstration,” General McChrystal, who is retired from the military, said in an interview after class, shortly before heading out to a New Haven bar for beers with his students. “And I was mad because there were only nine people” protesting his appointment.

Far from reacting with disdain or indifference, the Yale community has largely embraced him — just as the other Ivy League schools have started to open their doors to his peers.

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