Events reflect the diversity of today's 'dynamic' alumni community
When the Board of Governors of the Association of Yale Alumni (AYA) gathers on campus Sept. 17-19 for its first meeting of the new academic year, its members will preview plans for a full slate of events and activities this fall to connect alumni with each other and with the university at Yale and in communities across the nation and around the world.
“Alumni relations at Yale has both deep traditional roots and a dynamic present,” notes Jenny Chavira ’89, acting executive director of the alumni association. “Like the university itself, the ways in which alumni connect have grown greatly to reflect the diversity of our community and to include the many constituencies who together form the modern extended family of Yale graduates.”
Volunteer alumni leaders, supported by a team of professional staff in New Haven, have built a network of Yale College classes, graduate and professional school alumni organizations, regional alumni associations in communities in the United States and internationally, and a robust set of alumni shared interest groups (SIGs). “Alumni volunteers and the professional staff support a truly broad array of groups that aim simultaneously to serve alumni interests and to inspire alumni to service on behalf of the university and society,” Chavira notes.
The calendar for the new academic year builds on a banner year for alumni relations in 2014-2015. Last year saw successes such as the celebration of the 45th anniversary of the Afro-American Cultural Center among other SIG events; the 150th anniversary of the Cincinnati Yale Club, among scores of other events in cities of all sizes; dozens of Yale Educational Travel adventures; record-setting Yale College reunions; the largest-ever annual alumni assembly, focused in 2014 on entrepreneurship and innovation; the 7th annual Yale Day of Service worldwide, with 4,000-plus participants at over 250 sites; international efforts by the Yale Alumni Service Corps and the Yale Global Alumni Leadership Exchange; the second annual #YaleTech conference; and the inaugural Yale Veterans Summit.
The following list of events organized by the AYA and its affiliates illustrates the growing breadth and depth of Yale alumni association activities.
- Chicago alumni will gather for their annual “Welcome to Chicago” party with New Haven-style pizza for all Yale alumni and recent graduates on Sept. 24, and New York City alumni will have their annual “Welcome to NYC! (Re)connect with Yale Alumni in New York” event on Sept. 28.
- The Yale Alumni Real Estate Association will hold its 8th conference on Sept. 25 at the Yale School of Management.
- Yale alumni from Oregon and southwest Washington will host a conference on “Healthcare Beyond Obamacare: Bridging Policy to Practice” in Portland, Oregon, Sept. 25-27.
- YaleWomenNYC will host a conversation with Dr. Carolyn Mazure of Women’s Health Research at Yale on Sept. 29 in New York, an illustrative example of SIG events held throughout the year in communities beyond campus.
- Yale Graduate School of Arts and Sciences Dean Lynn Cooley will speak with alumni in Boston on Sept. 30.
- The Yale Alumni College will offer courses in New Haven, New York City, Rye, and Princeton in October and November.
- The Yale College Classes of 1971, 1972, and 1973 will gather for a mini-reunion together in New Haven Oct. 2-3, believed to be the first time multiple classes have held such a joint reunion, as well as the first Yale College class reunion held when classes are in session.
- The Yale Alumni Nonprofit Alliance will celebrate five years of social impact at a gala at the Yale Club of New York City on Oct. 7.
- The Divinity School, Law School, School of Forestry & Environmental Studies, and School of Public Health will each hold their annual fall reunions on campus, and the Graduate School Alumni Association will confer Wilbur Cross Medals at an annual October ceremony.
- The Yale Arab Alumni Association will hold a leadership forum in Dubai on October 23.
- The premiere Yale Environmental Sustainability Summit Nov. 6-7 will engage university alumni, faculty, staff, and students — as well as outside experts, practitioners and scholars — to tackle these topics in the first annual conference of its kind at Yale.
- Yale President Peter Salovey will meet with alumni in Philadelphia on Nov. 10.
Also on the horizon this year are an expanded set of conferences and seminars under the banner of “Careers, Life, and Yale,” a new initiative to connect current students and alumni volunteers for mentoring and career advice, as well as the launch of the Yale Arts Alliance, a new SIG dedicated to the visual arts.
In November, delegates representing alumni constituencies from around the world and across Yale schools and programs will gather for the AYA Assembly, the preeminent leadership information and development program for alumni. The 2015 annual alumni association assembly will be held Nov. 19-21, with a special focus on public health and the celebration of the Yale School of Public Health’s centennial year, as well as ceremonies honoring outstanding Yale alumni volunteers, including the presentation of the 2015 Yale Medal.
The above events are just a few examples of the ways in which Yale alumni can engage with each other and with the university. To learn more, Yale graduates are encouraged to connect with the regional alumni associations; Yale College classes, graduate and professional school alumni associations, and SIGs.
According to Chavira, “Yale alumni volunteer leaders and our professional staff welcome inquiries from alumni interested to learn how they can connect, engage, and serve — whoever they are, wherever they are, whatever their interest.”