Nominations are now open for the Yale Alumni Association Board of Governors Excellence Awards, newly revamped for 2019 to better highlight the efforts, events, and programs of Yale’s alumni groups and organizations.

The YAA Board of Governors Excellence Awards honor alumni organizations and group efforts for distinction in their events, programs, and best practices for Yale and on behalf of YAA. They acknowledge many forms of excellence, from marketing strategies to programming to reunions to leadership cultivation and beyond.

“The Excellence Awards recognize our most outstanding and innovative groups, groups that strive to connect alumni to each other and to the university,” said YAA Executive Director Weili Cheng ’77. “Having the opportunity to celebrate them and their great work is one of the true highlights of the year.”

For 2019, the awards will now be presented regardless of category, allowing the YAA to showcase the most outstanding groups like never before. Efforts, groups, and accomplishments will now be considered in their totality, irrespective of category, to recognize the activities that prove most impactful to Yale alumni and the communities in which they live.

In past years, a single recipient was named each year by category, divided into groupings such as outstanding class as well as outstanding class in a non-reunion year; outstanding large club, midsize club, and international club; outstanding large Yale Day of Service and small Yale Day of Service event; etc.

“We have so many alumni groups affiliated with the YAA that create tremendously diverse, interesting, and meaningful alumni engagement throughout the year,” said Billy Kolber ’86, co-chair, YAA Board of Governors Volunteer Leadership Committee, which selects the winners. “We want to be able to honor those that are the most outstanding each year, without requiring them fit neatly into a category or being forced to choose between two outstanding nominations because of category restrictions.

“Our new guidelines make it easier to nominate and recognize every kind of outstanding alumni engagement, including one-off events, year-long programming, marketing and communications efforts, and alumni collaborations."

As part of the new process, no organization can win an excellence award for the same effort, event, or program more than two years in a row. The award selection committee will consider multiple nominations from a single alumni organization or group but will consider only one nomination per event or effort.

“The Excellence Awards should be a true celebration of alumni achievement,” said fellow co-chair Thomas Dolan ’05. “We felt that by focusing on 10 to 12 awardees, as opposed to the 20-plus we’ve had in recent years, we’d be able to honor our most outstanding groups in a manner more commensurate with the work they’ve put in. We think this will make these awards even more meaningful and equitable.”

The 2019 recipients will be publicly recognized at the YAA Assembly and Yale Alumni Fund Convocation, November 21-22. In separate ceremonies held during Assembly and Convocation, the 2019 Yale Medal recipients, Yale-Jefferson Award winners, the Yale Alumni Fund Chairman’s Award recipients, among others, will also be honored.

Related: Alumni leaders celebrated during 2018 YAA Assembly and Alumni Fund Convocation

To nominate a group or organization for a 2019 YAA Board of Governors Excellence Award, visit the online nomination form and submit your nominee by September 6 (ed. note: the nominations deadline has been extended to September 12 at 11:59 p.m. ET). Nominations may be submitted by any member of the Yale alumni community, including the leaders of the relevant alumni group, or any other alumni who are familiar with its activities. If you are not the leader of the group you would like to nominate, please obtain approval from the group leader or leaders before submitting the nomination. 

The nominations will be vetted by the Volunteer Leadership Committee of the YAA Board of Governors using the criteria listed on the YAA website.