Our Mission


Founded alongside the academic and professional communities of Yale University and New Haven, the Elm Institute is an intellectual and cultural venture dedicated to examining and cultivating the ideas, values, and practices that sustain flourishing societies.

Our work explores questions of deep human concern that cut across the boundaries of academic disciplines. Since its launch by two Yale scholars in 2014, the Institute has cultivated areas of particular focus, including the sources and uses of wealth, the ethics of work and leisure, beauty and the arts, the nature of liberal education in modern society, and friendship and virtue. Throughout the year, we provide a range of programming for the Yale and New Haven communities, while our summer seminars attract students and scholars from around the world.

The name of the Elm Institute honors the rich history of our home, the City of New Haven, which acquired the nickname “the Elm City” after it became the site of the first public tree planting program in the United States. Through projects like these citizens sought to beautify the city and make a lasting contribution to the quality of civic life. Our name reminds us of their efforts and encourages us to pursue our inquiries with both a sense of history and an eye toward the common good.

PLH Signature transparent.png

Patrick Langdale Hough
Executive Director

31 Whitney.jpg

"31 Whitney"
Photo by William Frucht
Gift to the Elm Institute, Summer 2017