President Peter Salovey ’86 PhD addressed an online audience of alumni volunteer leaders last week in the second plenary event of the 2020 YAA Assembly and Yale Alumni Fund Convocation, reiterating Yale’s commitment to lead, to continue to pursue its mission amid the necessary restrictions of COVID-19, and to be a model for excellence in diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging.

Salovey’s remarks were part of his annual Assembly and Convocation university update, for the first time delivered to an exclusively online audience. Rather than its traditional three-day, in-person session in November, Assembly and Convocation is being held as a series of online sessions throughout the 2020-21 academic year.

“This has been a semester unlike any other,” Salovey said in his opening, referring to it as “an extraordinary year.”

He was quick to add that the pandemic, while affecting much of campus life, has not changed Yale’s mission or its ability to provide the finest educational opportunities possible for students.

Because of the necessary health and safety protocols currently in place, “many aspects of student life differ from our traditions,” he said. “However, I am deeply grateful that we can gather students on our campus for the informal and formal interactions that constitute a great education. … Whether our students are learning in person or remotely, they can continue their education, earn full academic credit, and benefit from Yale’s enriching academic services.”

“Now more than ever, our country and our world need the very best from Yale.” -President Peter Salovey 86 PhD

The heart of his remarks underscored the substance of two communications Salovey delivered prior to his Assembly and Convocation update: The fall 2020 academic strategy update, based on Salovey’s vision for Yale, and the university’s next phase of initiatives to build a stronger and more inclusive Yale.

In his address to alumni leaders, Salovey laid out the university priorities: science for breakthroughs, collaboration for impact, leaders for a better world, and – befitting the theme of this year’s Assembly, “The Arts and Humanities at Yale: A Legacy in Moments of Challenge” – arts and humanities for insight. His remarks closed with a discussion of the work and recommendations of the President’s Committee on Diversity, Inclusion, and Belonging.

In sharing these insights, Salovey noted what is on the line – for Yale and the larger global society.

“As we confront challenges in our nation and around the globe, it is clear that the stakes for the work we face could not be higher,” he said. “Now more than ever, our country and our world need the very best from Yale.”

In closing, Salovey reiterated the university community’s collective mission and a shared conviction “that together, we can solve great challenges and improve our nation and the world today and for future generations. That mission is just as vital today as it was over 300 years ago when the university was founded.

“Ever since that day, Yale has looked at the record of human achievement and believed we could do more. From all that we have been through together, especially in the last several months, I am more convinced not only that we can, but that we must.”