Welcome to May! May is a glorious month in New Haven, with campus events anchored by graduation and reunions. Tents and chairs will appear soon in anticipation of Commencement activities (Baccalaureate! Class Day! Degree ceremonies! Who will receive honorary degrees?) and reunion events (faculty lectures, classmate panels, cocktail parties, and dinners and dancing!).
As I sit on Old Campus enjoying Commencement, I will be thinking back to my first days at Yale in Vanderbilt. Back then, I thought of Yale as a place I would be for four years. In retrospect, I realize Yale is more than a place. Yale is a lifelong experience. This has certainly been true for me as a volunteer for Yale since graduation and, now, as a staff member for a few years.
But even without these Yale engagements, the university has left an indelible impression on me. Friendships formed and lessons learned during my undergraduate days have endured. So too has the optimism (I can do anything!) and the exhilaration of new challenges and the excitement of intellectual pursuits.
Through the gift of modern technology, those intellectual pursuits are now just a click away. Yale’s faculty and our fellow alumni share their knowledge with us both virtually and in person all year around. Here is a small sampling:
- Courses by outstanding Yale faculty are online at Coursera, including The Science of Well-Being with Prof. Laurie Santos;
- Nobel Laureate, Prof. Robert Schiller, speaking to alumni interested in finance, banking, and markets;
- Prof. David Blight on Frederick Douglass;
- Prof. Tamar Gendler ’87 on Philosophy and the Science of Human Nature; and
- the Yale Explores series of moderated faculty discussions in Washington, D.C., Philadelphia, Boston, New York, San Francisco, and Los Angeles.
There are many ways to stay engaged with Yale. In fact, right now you can have a say in guiding its future course. In accordance with Yale’s governance documents, all alumni, except those less than five years out from Yale College, are eligible to vote in the Alumni Fellow election. If you have not done so already, please vote by May 19.
The alumni fellows compose about half of Yale’s board of trustees. Alumni are asked to nominate candidates, and nominations are considered by the Alumni Fellow Nominating Committee (AFNC) of the Yale Alumni Association’s Board of Governors. (To learn more about the Board of Governors, please read our story on the April 2019 board meeting.) This committee takes into account the entire make-up of the current university board of trustees and the broad scope of the university’s operations.
Later this year, the committee will again solicit nominations. We encourage you to participate in the nomination process to help future committees find the best candidates from all sectors. Nominations can be submitted throughout the year by filling out the Alumni Fellow nomination form.
That is not the only way you can make an impact on Yale. The university is currently undergoing its reaccreditation process and is soliciting public comment from alumni ahead of the site visit from the accreditation commission, NECHE, Nov. 3-6, 2019. Please go to Yale’s accreditation page to submit your feedback.
Of course, staying connected to Yale is not all about forms and feedback. This month alone, you can view live streams for all three Baccalaureate ceremonies (Saturday, May 18, at 2:30 p.m. ET and Sunday, May 19, at 9 a.m. and 11 a.m.), Class Day (Sunday, May 19, at 2 p.m., featuring Class Day speaker and award-winning author Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie '08 MA), and Commencement (Monday, May 20, at 9:45 a.m. for the pre-show; the proceedings are scheduled for 10:30 a.m. but often begin a bit later depending on the pace of the procession). Graphics and links to Yale YouTube will be posted to the home page of the Commencement website. You might even see me!
I hope you too think of Yale as a lifelong experience. I welcome you to join me in the many ways to continue the Yale experience by visiting the YAA website.
Weili Cheng '77
Yale Alumni Association
P.S.: My class remains proud of our Class Day speaker who, along with his guitar Lucille, shared a memorable afternoon with us.