Drawing Elis from the far reaches of Beijing and Alaska, the Association of Yale Alumni hosted its annual assembly on campus this weekend.
Through this year’s assembly theme, “The New Yale: A Decade of Extraordinary Progress,” about 300 assembly delegates examined changes at Yale in the past decade and talked about the University’s future goals in several discussion sessions that took place on Thursday and Friday. The purpose of the annual assembly is to keep delegates abreast of developments at Yale so they can in turn inform their alumni constituents about developments, Assembly chair Kenneth Berman ’74 said.
“The University is a very different place from what it was 10 years ago,” Berman said. “Yale is truly one of a handful of world class institutions, and the assembly gave us an opportunity to see just why that is.”
Assembly highlights included a talk on Friday afternoon by Yale President Richard Levin on the University’s strategy for ensuring its future success. Levin outlined eight priorities for the University — including strengthening Yale in science and technology and expanding international opportunities for students. The weekend’s events also included a dinner in Commons on Friday night.
On Thursday participants visited new and renovated campus buildings, toured New Haven to see how the University is interacting with the city and learned about ways Yale is reaching out around the world, according to the program description.
Friday’s activities explored the University’s future goals and included several breakout sessions on alumni leadership development. Yale School of Management professor Barry Nalebuff, author of “Why Not? How to Use Everyday Ingenuity to Solve Problems Big and Small,” also spoke about thinking outside the box to find new solutions.
“What we decided to do this time was to give people a more in-depth experience,” Berman said. “The [sessions] were longer, and they covered material more in-depth.”
The assembly ended Saturday with the Yale-Princeton football game, although delegates were offered the option of visiting the Yale Center for British Art instead.
Delegates also considered a constitutional amendment to the AYA constitution to increase the number of at-large assembly delegates from 33 to 66, Berman said. He said he expected the amendment to pass, although ballots had not been officially counted yet.
Berman said he received positive feedback from alumni about this year’s assembly, although survey responses had not yet been received.
“I was enormously pleased,” Berman said. “The alumni with whom I spoke uniformly said they learned a lot and it was a wonderful assembly.”
Assembly delegate Michael Carey ’56 said the assembly informed him about Yale’s recent accomplishments, which he would not have found out about otherwise. Carey also said he liked the camaraderie he saw between the delegates.
“There’s a cheer and good will among the people who come back,” Carey said. “It’s infectious.”
Irina Kozubenko ’01, a delegate from The Yale Club of Hartford, said she came to the assembly to get ideas on how to organize successful events for her alumni club and said she found the conference constructive.
“I think it’s very helpful,” Kozubenko said. “I think they should do it regularly. They used to do it every six months.”