Levin kicks off series of visits with Yale’s ‘frontline ambassadors’

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Paul G. Tierney ’61, president, Yale Club of Philadelphia; President Richard Levin; George W. Gephart ’75, president and CEO of the Academy of Natural Sciences of Drexel. (Photo courtesy of Paul Tierney)

President Richard C. Levin kicked off a series of visits with “the extended Yale family” — i.e., regional alumni associations — on Nov. 29 when he met with members of the Yale Club of Philadelphia.

More than 100 Yale alumni and friends turned out for the event, held in the Dinosaur Hall in Philadelphia’s Academy of Natural Sciences at Drexel University, whose president and CEO, George Gephart Jr., is a 1975 graduate of Yale College.

The academy — established in 1812, making it the oldest natural history museum in America — was an ideal spot for a Yale presidential visit with alumni, according to Wendy Maldonado D’Amico ’93, a board member of the Yale Club of Philadelphia.

“Like Yale itself, the Academy of Natural Sciences is dedicated to education, research, and community outreach,” she said. 

“Alumni here in Philly are focused on lifelong learning and in serving our community,” noted Paul Tierney ’61, president of the club. “It was a great honor to gather at an academy led by a fellow Yalie and to get an update from President Levin about the University’s progress in New Haven and around the world.”

Reporting on the state of the University, Levin shared progress and plans for the West Campus, the planning for two new residential colleges, and the construction well underway for the School of Management’s new campus, among other developments at home.  He also discussed the developments in the Yale-NUS College that will be opening in Singapore.

Levin expressed deep gratitude for the support alumni gave to the Yale Tomorrow campaign, which closed in June having exceeded its ambitious goals despite the global economic downturn.  He also gave special thanks to the Association of Yale Alumni and its many clubs and associations around the world. 

“The Yale Club of Philadelphia and its fellow regional alumni organizations are essential parts of the extended Yale family,” Levin said after the event. “They are frontline ambassadors for Yale, and it is always heartening to see how enthusiastically they give of their time and talent on behalf of Yale and how much they truly love this place and care for its future.”

The Yale alumni group in Philadelphia is the eighth-largest of Yale’s 187 regional alumni associations in the United States and more than 50 other countries.  One of the first such Yale alumni groups ever organized, the Philadelphia club supports a graduate student fellowship at the University and is in the process of launching a “Bulldogs in Philadelphia” program to help connect current Yale students with summer jobs and internships in the city. It has been a leader in organizing sites with the global Yale Day of Service, next scheduled for May 12, 2012. 

“Yalies in Philly are very active, with our group hosting multiple events each month,” said Duane Malm ’54, vice president of the club. “Having Rick Levin here the Monday after Thanksgiving was a special occasion to celebrate the many ties that connect us all with a university for which we are all thankful.”

Levin’s visit to Philadelphia last month was the first of a number of talks with regional Yale alumni groups planned for this academic year. He met with a large group of Yale alumni in Los Angeles on Dec. 5 and will travel in the spring semester to Denver, San Francisco, and Seattle.

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