Summer is a relatively quiet time on campus. I use this time to reflect on the work of the alumni association and how it has evolved. These thoughts are especially appropriate as we celebrate having reached 50 years of the alumni association.
The association was established as the Association of Yale Alumni (AYA) with the approval of its constitution by the Yale Corporation on Oct. 13, 1972.
As we reflect on and celebrate the importance of the alumni association, I remember my first encounter with the AYA as a delegate-at-large in 1983. I was in that role for 3 years, followed by service as a member, officer, and then chair of the AYA Board of Governors until 1994. By the time I got off the board, I had spent more time on campus as a volunteer than when I was a Yale College student!
Of course, after my time with the Board of Governors, I continued to volunteer for Yale. I enjoyed the camaraderie of alumni volunteers and the feeling that I was helping to build a stronger community in support of the university. (Coming to our beautiful campus from time to time was also a pleasure!) In retrospect, Yale never left me. All of my Yale activities have been an important and influential part of my life. I learned skills that were helpful in my career as an attorney and of course, I gained friends for life and made and continue to make new Yale memories.
The AYA, now known as the Yale Alumni Association (YAA), continues to provide opportunities for skills building, networking, and friendships, but in many more ways now than in its early decades.
The YAA continues to support alumni groups through regional Yale clubs and associations and Yale College classes. YAA’s programming also includes graduate and professional school alumni, alumni groups based on shared interests and identities, with a special emphasis on recent graduates. Because of your interest in lifelong learning, the YAA has expanded learning offerings online and in person in various cities, on campus, and abroad. Our alumni community is a wealth of life and career wisdom that you can explore through Cross Campus, the YAA’s networking and mentoring platform. And there are service opportunities through Yale Day of Service and Yale Alumni Service Corps, so you can continue Yale’s legacy of serving those in need.
Wonder what connections and experiences await you through these programs? I invite you to explore some or all of these and other Yale activities! The YAA’s mission is to enhance and renew the lifelong Yale experience for all alumni, whoever they are and wherever they may be. Yale alumni programs and activities have enriched my life and I hope they may enrich yours, too.
Weili Cheng ’77, Pierson College
Yale Alumni Association