Dozens of top scholars and industry and world leaders will return to Yale in April to celebrate the University’s 300th birthday in the tercentennial year’s second weekend.
Former President George H. W. Bush ’48, Doonesbury cartoonist Garry Trudeau ’70 and ABC News journalist Jack Ford ’72 among other noted alumni will participate in the tercentennial weekend, which is geared toward alumni but open in a limited form to students. The event, which is themed “Creativity and Discovery,” is expected to attract over a thousand alumni who have volunteered for Yale in many capacities.
University Secretary Linda Lorimer said Yale will make an effort to reserve space in each event for some students and faculty, but said most events over the April 19-22 weekend are really geared to alumni. Yale has not yet determined which students will attend which events.
Bush, however, will give a special talk for students on the afternoon of Saturday, April 21, as a Timothy Dwight Chubb Fellow.
The University has also invited prominent alumni such as President George W. Bush ’68, former President Bill Clinton LAW ’73, Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton LAW ’73 and Connecticut Senator Joseph Lieberman ’64 LAW ’67. The Clintons’ and Lieberman’s representatives said the politicians would not decide whether to come until closer to the event, and White House representatives did not return phone calls regarding Bush’s invitation.
Yale Provost Alison Richard, Yale’s chief academic and financial officer, said events are being spread across campus to encourage wide engagement.
“We want the celebration to be campus wide,” Richard said. “We want people to think they are participants, not just recipients.”
Other featured guests include playwrights Wendy Wasserstein DRA ’76 and Christopher Durang DRA ’74, writer Tom Wolfe GRD ’57, Palm Pilot co-inventor Donna Dubinsky ’77 and Yale Corporation members John Pepper ’50, who is also Procter & Gamble chief executive officer, and Kurt Schmoke ’71, the former mayor of Baltimore.
Anita Hill LAW ’80, best known for accusing Clarence Thomas LAW ’74 of sexual harassment prior to his appointment to the U.S. Supreme Court, will deliver a talk on women’s studies. Former Yale Law School Dean and federal judge Guido Calabresi ’53 LAW ’58 and Carnegie Institute president Maxine Singer GRD ’57 will also lead panels.
Chris Ernst ’76, the female rower who led the “shirt-up” protest in the ’70s and subject of the film “A Hero for Daisey” will return to campus for the first time since she graduated, Yale College Associate Dean Penelope Laurans said.
Laurans, who is organizing the weekend, said many of the featured alumni have said they are excited to hear their colleagues speak.
Although the event may appear star-studded, Lorimer said she believes that “the subject matters more than the people.”
But the real stars of the event are not the famous speakers, Lorimer said. Rather the weekend is dedicated to alumni that have most actively served Yale.
The 2,000 invited alumni have served as class secretaries and treasurers, alumni fund volunteers, corporation members and Yale advisory boards.
Association of Yale Alumni Executive Director Jeff Brenzel said there were more than 15,000 alumni who Yale would have liked to have been able to invite. However, limited space and funds demanded that the University trim the list to include only the ones currently involved.
The April weekend is the second in a series of three major weekends in a year-long tercentennial celebration. The first one coincided with Parent’s Weekend this fall and was open to the New Haven community. The third celebration, this October, will be broadcast to Yale clubs and associations throughout the world.