Jorge Gómez Tejada ’07 MAR, ’12 PhD
Jorge Gómez Tejada ’07 MAR, ’12 PhD

Jorge Gómez Tejada is a faculty member and part of the executive team at Universidad San Francisco de Quito in Ecuador, serving first as the university’s director of development and later as director for institutional strategy. Since 2016, he has also served as president of CPU, the not-for-profit corporation that created USFQ in 1988.

In April, he was the cover story for the Ecuadorian edition of Forbes magazine as the first openly gay CEO of a major Ecuadorian institution.

For this edition of Getting to Know You, Jorge talks about his time at the Yale University Art Gallery, what he misses most about his time on campus, and how coming to Yale was a dream come true.

Why Yale?
It was first a childhood dream. The promise of a life among great people in a great place. It became a reality when I applied to the Divinity School to pursue an MA in religion in the arts within the Institute of Sacred Music and then when I was accepted at the PhD program in art history. Both programs are centered on the academic and personal well-being of the student and offer unique paths for growth through the almost infinite resources of Yale. It really was a dream come true.

If you could relive your time at Yale, what would you do differently?
I don´t think I would change much. Maybe push myself to be more active within the community and be more empathetic with people around me. It is very easy to think only about oneself and one’s work and forget about others.

What would you do exactly the same?
Spending as much time as I did at the Yale University Art Gallery (YUAG), both working as a museum guide for kids from the community as well as a research assistant in the Ancient Art Department. It really was a life-changing experience and the place where I acquired so many skills that have proven quite useful in my professional life.

What is the most enduring memory of your time at Yale?
It is hard to choose one but if I had to, I would say that the opportunity to redesign the Pre-Columbian exhibition at YUAG with Mary Miller, Susan Matheson, and Megan Doyon ranks pretty high. In general, for me Yale was a continuous succession of great experiences and memories. From spending endless hours at the stacks at Sterling to Atticus´ black bean soup, I loved every moment of my life at Yale.

Favorite spot on campus, past or present?
Jorge Gómez Tejada ’07 MAR, ’12 PhD poses, sitting on a chair with his legs crossed, for the cover of Forbes EcuadorWhen I entered the history of art program, our classrooms and faculty offices were in the Street and Swartwout buildings. The older, many of them makeshift spaces, that were created over time to house the department made it tremendously charming and welcoming. Our student lounge was awesome, full of old books, shaggy textiles, and furniture. You could hang out there for hours on end.

Favorite spot in New Haven, past or present?
I really liked walking through the Green.

New Haven pizza preference?
Mashed potatoes and bacon pizza at Bar was the best thing ever.

What Yale alum most inspires you? And why?
I have to say that whenever I need inspiration I think about my advisor, Mary Miller. She was a force of nature in every good sense possible. She is a self-made conqueror: She completed her PhD in four years back when grad students did not receive a fellowship, worked at the art library, was a teaching assistant for George Kubler, focused on a topic challenging for most people, located in the deep Chiapas rainforest (The Murals of Bonampak) and then proceeded to re-write her field.

What do you miss most about Yale?
Its people.

How did your time at Yale shape the person you are today?
It made me more demanding of myself in every aspect of my life.

What advice would you give to current students?
Enjoy every minute. Listen to every person. Learn more, judge less. Smile, be happy; you are the upper 1% of the upper 1%.

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