The first Yale Alumni Association Board of Governors meeting of 2019 convened this past weekend, with members of the board and YAA staff navigating the plummeting New Haven temperatures to chart the association’s course for the coming months.

The Board of Governors meetings occur over two days – committee meetings on Friday and a plenary session on Saturday attended by all board members and YAA staff. The group assembles four times a year, with this being its first meeting since November 2018.

“It is always inspiring to be in the same space to discuss ideas, plans, and programs that will drive the YAA forward,” said YAA Chair Nancy Stratford ’77. “The energy in the room, both in committee meetings and when we all get together, is so exciting. It’s truly wonderful to serve with alumni leaders who are so passionate about improving not only the alumni experience, but the student experience as well.”

The winter meeting got off to an early start this session, with more than 50 mentor and mentees, including many members of the Board of Governors, gathering Thursday evening for a speed networking event at Rose Alumni House, the home of the YAA. Board members congregated again the next morning in the same location for the committee meetings, which covered a range of issues that included mentoring, networking, advancing diversity initiatives, expanding the alumni leadership pipeline, volunteer awards, and more. 

On Friday evening the board endeavored to learn more about the Yale community, attending a dinner hosted at the Peabody Museum of Natural History that touched on the Peabody’s renovation and expansion as well as the museum’s EVO program for New Haven high school students.

Day 2 was headlined by the plenary, held this past weekend at The Study. The day opened with a moment of silence for former board member and dedicated volunteer Christopher Quander ’86 and longtime beloved staff member Paul Mester, both of whom passed away in recent months. The group committed to carrying on their great work in their memory.

The Saturday session recapped the Friday meetings and featured presentations from Kim Goff-Crews, vice president for student life, and Catharine Bond Hill ’85 PhD, senior trustee on the Yale Board of Trustees. Wrapping up the two-day affair was a review of the recent launch of the new YAA website and the accompanying reimagining of the association, and a discussion of upcoming events presented by the YAA, including the Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion “Impact” conference to be held March 29-30.

“Meeting after meeting, I’m amazed at the dedication of our volunteer leaders and their commitment to their fellow alumni and the university at large,” said Weili Cheng ’77, executive director of the YAA. “This Board of Governors session was no different. Our conversations were both substantive and inspirational, and put us in an excellent position to lead our association forward as we continue to grow and develop.”

Following the meetings, many board members stayed in the area for the weekend to attend a Broadway play, and on Sunday, to participate in a Board of Governors reunion event in New York City.