Assembly LXXI: November 17-19, 2011

The Yale PhD:
150 Years of Leadership for Yale and the World

Assembly LXXI, held November 17–18, 2011, honored the 150th anniversary of the first Ph.D. degrees granted by Yale, which were the first granted by any university in North America.


Graduate study at Yale and at universities around the world has traditionally been focused on the production of knowledge and the training of new scholars. In short, graduate education has concerned leadership within academia. The changing landscape of higher education in recent years has put that model under stress. Partly out of necessity and partly by choice, graduate education has come to embrace a broader vision of leadership. Assembly delegates will hear and participate in conversations about Yale’s key role in this process, while celebrating the distinctive history and ambitions of the Yale Graduate School and its alumni.


The Assembly began on Thursday with a plenary session and panel featuring the current Dean of the Graduate School, Thomas Pollard, the former Dean of the Graduate School, Jon Butler, and faculty leaders of the three Divisions of the School. The plenary was followed by breakout sessions with current Yale graduate students, across a broad range of fields, showcasing their current research. This was a unique opportunity to get an insider’s view of the exciting research being done by our graduate students and to get to know a bit about the students and graduate student life at Yale.


A highlight of Thursday afternoon’s sessions was a panel discussion entitled “Doctorates Without Borders,” featuring a discussion of the challenges facing graduate alumni in the 21st century and leadership opportunities within and beyond academia for Ph.D. degree recipients. Thursday’s events concluded first with the annual Yale Medal dinner, in Commons, and afterward with a reception at the GYPSY (Graduate & Professional Student Center at Yale) where delegates could mix and mingle late into the evening with current graduate students.


Friday’s program offered something new as well as something familiar. The Assembly again featured updates about the progress of the AYA’s Strategic Plan, the growing range of AYA-supported initiatives, and the work of alumni volunteers and leaders. Friday also included a program of leadership development training and opportunities for alumni leaders to share best practices and learn from AYA staff and each other. AYA delegates and YAF volunteers came together for lunch on Friday to hear a University update by President Levin.


In addition, on Friday, Assembly delegates had several opportunities to engage with current members of the AYA Board of Governors and AYA staff as the process of formulating a second-generation Strategic Plan, referred to by the Board as “Strategic Plan 2.0,” was getting underway with a brief video.


Friday’s program concluded with a champagne reception in the President’s Room in Woolsey Hall, where delegates could reflect on their Assembly experiences amid an “Expo” display of AYA initiatives, moderated by AYA staff and Board members. The day culminated with a toast to the 40th anniversary of the AYA. The creation of the Association of Yale Alumni was formally authorized by a resolution of the Yale Corporation in October 1971.



Assembly LXXI
The Yale PhD: 150 Years of Leadership for Yale and the World

Thurs. Nov. 17

Fri. Nov. 18

Sat. Nov. 19

Thursday, November 17, 2011

8:00 a.m. –


Thursday, November 17, 2011

8 a.m. – 5 p.m.
Rose Alumni House, 232 York Street

Assembly participants will check in and receive their packet of materials for the Assembly program. The packet will include the final program for the weekend, as well as name badges and other materials.

Assembly Welcome
9 – 9:15 a.m.

AYA Board and Assembly Chair Michael Madison ’83 will welcome delegates and guests to the Assembly and share his thoughts on the milestone anniversary we are celebrating, honoring the first graduate school in North America as well as its many contributions to our world today.

Introduction to the Assembly
9:15 – 10:15 a.m.

 Moderated by Jon Butler, the Howard R. Lamar Professor of American Studies, History, and Religious Studies and former Dean of the Graduate School, the opening plenary session will provide an overview of the Graduate School including the training of the next generation of leaders, the role of mentoring, where graduate school education is heading, how the work of the school radiates outward beyond the Yale Graduate School and academia in general, and more. Panelists include a leader from each of the Graduate School’s three divisions: Ian Shapiro, Sterling Professor of Political Science and Henry R. Luce Director of the MacMillan Center for International and Area Studies (social sciences); Meg Urry, Israel Munson Professor of Physics & Astronomy, Director of the Yale Center for Astronomy & Astrophysics and Chair of the Department of Physics (hard sciences) and Michael Warner, the Seymour H. Knox Professor of English, Professor of American Studies, and Chair of the Department of English. (humanities).

Breakout and Experiential Sessions

The stage will be set for Assembly attendees to participate in three sets of behind the scenes, up close sessions where current graduate students will showcase their ground-breaking research. Small groups of alumni will have the opportunity to immerse themselves in the students’ work, learning more about their area of research and also the life of graduate students today. Each of the three breakout time blocks will be dedicated to one of the divisions, insuring that participants will have exposure to the diverse subject areas studied at the Graduate School.

Breakout sessions in the Social Sciences
10:45 – 11:45 a.m.

When you register for the Assembly, please indicate which one of the breakout sessions in the social sciences you are likely to attend.  Please click here for a list of sessions.

Lunch in the Residential Colleges and New Delegate Orientation
12 noon – 1:15 p.m.

Most Assembly participants will have lunch in assigned residential colleges. In addition, the New Delegate Luncheon will take place in the Presidents’ Room and will provide an overview of the Assembly and the delegate role for new delegates. New delegates will have a ticket for this luncheon in their registration packet.

Breakout sessions in the Hard Sciences
1:45 – 2:45 p.m.

When you register for the Assembly, please indicate which one of the breakout sessions in the hard sciences you are likely to attend.  Please click here for a list of sessions.

Breakout sessions in the Humanities
3:15 – 4:15 p.m.

When you register for the Assembly, please indicate which one of the breakout sessions in the humanities you are likely to attend.  Please click here for a list of sessions.

Doctorates Without Borders
4:30 – 5:30 p.m.

Dean of the Yale Graduate School of Arts and Sciences Thomas Pollard will open this session by sharing his perspective on the efforts to improve graduate education at Yale.

The Graduate School has many alumni who are distinguished leaders in academia and beyond. Some of those who are making a real difference in the world will share their thoughts on the way the Yale Graduate School prepared them for their roles and how they view graduate education today. Panelists include Jonathan Fanton ’65,’78 PhD, former President of the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation; Eric R. Fossum ’84 PhD; inventor of the CMOS image sensor that operates digital cameras; Ann Temkin ’91 PhD, The Marie-Josée and Henry Kravis Chief Curator of Painting and Sculpture at the Museum of Modern Art in New York City; Joan Hinde Stewart ’70 PhD, President of Hamilton College; and Ernesto Zedillo ’81 PhD, President of Mexico from 1994 to 2000. The session will be moderated by Peter Salovey ’86 PhD, Yale Provost and former Dean of the Yale Graduate School.

Yale Medal Dinner
Reception begins at 6 p.m. at the McDougal Graduate Student Center

For more than 50 years, the Yale Medal has been conferred to honor outstanding individual service to the University. This year’s recipients reflect the range of service and leadership the AYA strives to recognize with this award. We honor the remarkable contributions of the Medalists and recognize that they honor Yale and all of us in the alumni community by the ways in which they have chosen to give back to our community of scholars and friends. We hope all Assembly participants will join us for a gala celebration honoring this year’s Medalists – Rev. Robert Beloin, Willard W. Brittain, Jr. '70, Katherine Edersheim '87, Terry M. Holcombe '64 and John N. Scales '54. For more information about the Yale Medal and this year’s recipients, please click here

Dinner in University Commons begins at 7 p.m.

Alumni and Graduate Student Career Networking Social
Begins after the Yale Medal Dinner

This evening social is designed for current graduate students to benefit from networking with Yale alumni from all career paths. The evening will begin with a thirty minute career panel of Yale graduates from academic and non-academic careers followed by a networking social gathering. Come and get to know current Yale graduate students while sharing your wealth of career knowledge and advice in an informal, fun atmosphere. Drinks and light refreshments will be served. All assembly participants are welcome.

Friday, November 18, 2011

The AYA Strategic Plan in Action
AYA Alumni Volunteer Awards Presentations

8:45 – 10:45 a.m.

Join us for an exciting session, moderated by Mark Dollhopf ’77, including updates on some of the most successful and innovative alumni programs from the last year, from the Day of Service, to the Alumni Service Corps’ week in the Dominican Republic, to creative Yale College Reunion promotions, and the Yale Black Alumni Association’s Summer Institute for the Arts, which was featured on the White House blog.

We will also honor AYA award winners: the AYA Leadership Awards for individual volunteers, and the AYA Board of Governors Excellence Awards, for alumni groups and programs. Together we will congratulate these outstanding volunteers and groups for their efforts on behalf of Yale and their communities.

Alumni Programs – Information Sessions (Session I)
11 – 11:45 a.m.

These sessions will be an opportunity for Assembly attendees to find out about AYA programs and to provide input on new initiatives. Session presenters will provide an overview and/or annual report and include time for Q&A, as well as information on how to get involved. Sessions will be offered in two time slots, so you will have an opportunity to hear from two different groups.

Details will be available in the coming weeks; likely sessions include an opportunity to learn about service on the AYA Board of Governors and other volunteer training opportunities through AYA, as well as information sessions on programs such as the worldwide Yale Day of Service, YaleGALE (Global Alumni Leadership Exchange), the Yale Alumni Service Corps and the Black Alumni Association’s Higher Education Initiative. Sessions will also be offered to brainstorm on new initiatives such as the Yale Alumni Nonprofit Alliance and a Student-Alumni Association, among others.

In particular, Assembly attendees will have the opportunity to join a “listening session,” moderated by AYA Board members and staff, to discuss new directions for the Yale Alumni Association. The first AYA Strategic Plan – “Ambassadors for Yale” – is drawing to a close, and the AYA Board and staff are launching a new strategic planning effort to be completed over the course of this academic year. Several “listening sessions” will be offered throughout the day, and everyone is encouraged to attend one, to share ideas and dreams for the future.

Lunch in Commons & University Update
12 noon – 1:30 p.m.

At lunch, Assembly attendees will be joined by those volunteers on campus for the Alumni Fund Convocation to hear the annual University Update from President Levin. Assembly and Convocation participants will have the opportunity to submit questions for President Levin during the Friday morning plenary sessions.

Alumni Programs – Information Sessions (Session II)
1:45 – 2:30 p.m.
A second opportunity to learn more about AYA programs and to provide input on new initiatives. The selection of sessions will be similar to those offered in the morning, including another “listening session” for the new AYA Strategic Plan.

Leadership Development Workshops
Alumni Organization Board Meetings

2:45 – 5:15 p.m.

How can the initiatives of the Strategic Plan invigorate your constituency’s work for Yale? Attendees will break out by interest, constituency and/or activity for hands-on leadership training in bringing the goals of the strategic plan to life within your own Yale communities. In addition, meetings will be held for Task Forces and boards, as listed below. These meetings are intended for task force/board members only.

• The New AYA Strategic Plan – Listening Session (offered twice in succession)
• Yale College Class Leadership
• Yale Clubs and Associations
• Major Cities (Boston, Chicago, Los Angeles, New Haven, New York City, San Francisco and Washington, DC)
• Shared Identity/Interest Groups – Case Study &
• Graduate School Alumni Association (annual fall meeting)
• Professional Schools
• YaleGALE – Board meeting
• Yale Alumni Service Corps – Board meeting
• Bulldogs Across America – Board meeting

Celebrating 40 Years of the AYA – Reception and AYA Expo
5:30 – 6:30 p.m.
Presidents’ Room, 2nd Floor, Memorial Hall (Woolsey Hall)

Join us for a festive gathering to bring this year’s Assembly program to a close, including a champagne toast to celebrate the 40th anniversary of the founding of the AYA in 1971! Enjoy wine and hors d’oeuvres while browsing the “AYA Expo” of booths on many current alumni programs and activities. Share your thoughts on the Assembly program before heading out to enjoy Harvard weekend celebrations around New Haven.

Blue Leadership Ball

Click here for more information on the gala Blue Leadership Ball sponsored by Yale Athletics.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

While the Assembly is officially over, we are pleased to provide you information on the following activities for Saturday:

AYA Alumni Village
10 a.m. – 12 noon

We invite you to join the AYA and your Yale friends for our exciting pre-Game event at the Yale Bowl. Once again the AYA will be hosting the very popular hospitality tent, AYA Alumni Village, located within the Hospitality Village adjacent to the Yale Bowl. This free event for all alumni provides a place to gather and meet up with Yale classmates and friends before going to the game. Free refreshments and raffles for those who come early!

The Game!
12 noon

Assembly participants are invited to attend the Yale-Harvard game at the Bowl. When you register for the Assembly, please indicate if you wish to receive complimentary tickets (up to two) for admission to the game. At that time you may also indicate if you wish to purchase additional tickets at the price of $13 each.

The Athletics Department provides free transportation to and from the Yale Bowl on Saturday. Starting at 8 a.m., shuttle buses will bring fans from downtown New Haven to Yale Avenue at the Yale Bowl. The buses will run during and after the game from Yale Avenue on the east (visitor’s) side of the Bowl to two downtown locations. The Blue Line runs to/from the corner of Chapel and College Streets adjacent to Old Campus and the New Haven Green; the White Line runs to/from Payne Whitney Gymnasium, 70 Tower Parkway. To return to campus, meet the looping shuttle on Yale Avenue by Gate B; bus service ends at approximately 5 p.m.

Please note that Athletics’ parking policy requires a pre-purchased parking pass to gain admission to any of the Yale parking lots out at the Yale Bowl.

Other activities available today: 

Yale Center for British Art
Hours: 10 a.m. – 5 p.m.
Free admission

A guided tour of the Center's architecture begins at 11 a.m., and at 1 p.m .there will be a student-led introductory tour of the Center with diverse themes. Both tours meet at the information desk. Special exhibits include Adapting the Eye: An Archive of the British in India, 1770–1830 and Johan Zoffany RA: Society Observed.

Yale University Art Gallery
Hours: 10 a.m. – 5 p.m.
Free admission

Guided Masterpiece Tours are available at 1:30 pm; gather at the front desk. Special exhibits include Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness: We the People and Remembering 9/11.

Yale Peabody Museum of Natural History
10 a.m. – 5 p.m.
Admission $9 for adults, $8 for seniors (65+), $5 for college students and children 3–18.

Docent-led 45-minute highlight tours are offered at 12:30 and 1:30 p.m. Current special exhibits include Invasion of the Bloodsuckers: Bedbugs and Beyond and X-Ray Vision: Fish Inside Out.