Administrators are walking a careful line between promising graduates of Yale-NUS access to most Association of Yale Alumni resources, and terming those graduates “Yale alumni.”
Yale-NUS graduates — whose degrees will be issued by the National University of Singapore, not Yale — will be considered “international affiliates” in the AYA, but not official Yale alumni. As international affiliates, Yale-NUS graduates will have access to the online AYA database and several alumni events and programs, but will not be allowed to vote in elections for the alumni fellows of the Yale Corporation, be chosen for the AYA Board of Governors, or represent the alumni body as delegates to the AYA Assembly.
The international affiliate designation was originally created for graduates of the Yale World Fellows program, who study at the University for a year but do not receive Yale degrees. University Vice President Linda Lorimer said in a statement that the University was careful not to refer to Yale-NUS graduates as “Yale alumni” in the brochure distributed to prospective Yale-NUS students, which promises “lifelong membership in global alumni networks” to graduates of the college.
The profiles of Yale-NUS graduates on the AYA database will appear similar to those of the World Fellows, which feature a name, address and phone number, Lorimer said. The World Fellow profiles also designate the person as a “non-degree” holder and an “international affiliate” with “World Fellows” in the space where most Yale alumni would see their major.
Lorimer said she thinks granting international affiliate status to Yale-NUS graduates will be a “win-win” for Yale and the Singaporean college. She noted that past World Fellows have become involved with AYA efforts such as this summer’s service trip to Ghana.
Nine students and three alumni interviewed were generally receptive to the having Yale-NUS graduates represented in the database.
Kristen Fairey ’81 DIV ’95 GRD ’08 said the addition of Yale-NUS alumni to the AYA will expand the network of people and opportunities to which all Yalies have access.
But others, such as Anand Khare ’15, said they were wary of extending alumni resources to those without a Yale degree. Khare said he felt “uncomfortable” with opening up a network traditionally reserved for Yale graduates.
Elle Brunsdale ’15 said she understood why some would be concerned about incorporating Yale-NUS students into the AYA, but added that it would be difficult for Yale not to include them, since the two schools are affiliated.
“It seems like if you are giving something a Yale stamp, it would be hard to deny other aspects of being affiliated with Yale,” Brunsdale said.
Several other students said including Yale-NUS alumni in the AYA database would not dilute the value of a Yale degree.
“Most of your important Yale connections are those you form from being at Yale,” Eric Willett ’14 said. “When you do meet other Yalies, you have a shared experience which is not transferable. Meeting someone and realizing you were in the same residential college … these connections are not diminished because someone has access to the more tangible manifestations of the network.”
The first class of Yale-NUS students will graduate in spring 2017.