When Yale-NUS’s inaugural class of 157 graduates next year, its members will find themselves alumni members of both of the school’s parent institutions. These graduates will receive a degree from the National University of Singapore, securing an alumni membership in Singapore’s oldest and largest university. And though they will not graduate from Yale University, Yale-NUS graduates will also become members of the Association of Yale Alumni.
Unlike students whose Yale degrees automatically earn them a place in AYA, Yale-NUS graduates fall under the special AYA membership category of “international affiliates.” The AYA Constitution allows its Board of Governors to confer membership to people not pursuing a Yale degree, such as Yale World Fellows, postdoctoral fellows and international affiliates. International affiliates are not eligible to serve as delegates of the AYA assembly — a position exclusive for Yale degree-holders — nor on the AYA board. Jeannette Chavira ’89, acting executive director of AYA, said the decision on how to categorize Yale-NUS graduates was made shortly before the school opened in 2013 and “in consultation with” Linda Lorimer, former vice president for global and strategic initiatives.
“[The decision] was based on the idea that Yale-NUS graduates would enrich the Yale alumni family, as do the other categories of affiliates [such as] World Fellows and postdoctoral fellows,” Chavira said.
Yale-NUS President Pericles Lewis said this is a long-term arrangement, meaning that Yale-NUS students will continue to be members of AYA even after the young school establishes its own alumni base in the coming years. Chavira called the future of the arrangement “open-ended,” adding that it is independent of the eventual establishment of Yale-NUS’s own alumni programs.
In a October interview with the Octant, a Yale-NUS student publication, Austin Shiner ’11, Yale-NUS senior manager of alumni affairs, said the AYA will encourage all Yale Clubs, except for the Yale Club of Singapore, to welcome Yale-NUS alumni as members. He told the News he hoped Yale alumni will get to know Yale-NUS alumni through Yale Clubs, whose administration is independent from AYA.
The reason for excluding Yale Club of Singapore, Shiner explained, is that the Yale Club of Singapore is relatively small, and in a few years’ time the number of Yale-NUS alumni in Singapore will exceed the number of Yale alumni.
“This situation [in Singapore] is unique, and it makes sense that the Yale Club would want to maintain its own character,” Shiner said.
President of the Yale Club of Singapore Bill Hatch ’09 said he agreed with Shiner’s reason, noting that the club has only around 300 members, and Yale-NUS will have enough graduates for its own alumni association in Singapore, which may not be the case in other cities.
Hatch said that though graduates will not become members of the Yale Club of Singapore, he expects a lot of interaction between the Yale-NUS alumni network in Singapore and the group. Lewis said members of the Yale Club of Singapore have been “very helpful” to the school so far.
Lewis added that Yale Clubs in most cities have been eager to welcome Yale-NUS graduates. Representatives from Yale alumni clubs interviewed said they are willing to engage Yale-NUS alumni in club events, though they did not comment on club membership for Yale-NUS students.
The Yale Club of Singapore was founded in 1985.