Yale Medal awarded to five alumni
Each year, the Yale Medal honors the sustainability-related, administrative and philanthropic contributions of five alumni.
Zoe Berg, Senior Photographer
Five Yale alumni — from a senior associate at an environmental consulting firm to the former president of customer development at Unilever — were awarded the 2022 Yale Medal last week.
Since 1950, the Yale Medal has been given to more than 340 alumni by the Yale Alumni Association. This year’s recipients are Gina Rosselli Boswell SOM ’89, Alison Brody ’95, Rockwell Chin ARC ’71, Lauren Graham ENV ’13 and Donald Roberts ’57. The awards will be presented during the Yale Alumni Fund Convocation in November.
“My experience has been [that] there’s always more to learn from, and to give to Yale,” Boswell wrote in an email to the News.
The YAA awards the medal to those who exemplify Yale’s mission while supporting the school and its programs. This year, the awards centered on alumni whose continued service to Yale has taken a diverse range of forms.
Graham, a graduate of the Yale School of Environment and one of the youngest award recipients, was honored for her work in pushing sustainability agendas forward. She currently the Chief of Staff at Hunger Free America, and is an adjunct professor at multiple universities.
During her time as a graduate student, Graham was involved in the Yale Blue Green group — an alumni initiative committed to supporting sustainability efforts at Yale through service and leadership. Since then, she has served as chair of the organization.
Graham also helped organize the 2019 Yale Environmental Sustainability Summit and served as secretary of the Yale Women Governing Council.
“Yale is special because of its people — we love it and are committed to its evolution and excellence,” Graham wrote to the News.
Coming to Yale for graduate school, Graham told the News that she immediately felt a special connection to the community.
For Boswell, a graduate of the Yale School of Management and New Haven native, Yale has also been both a literal and figurative home.
“Because home and Yale were intertwined, I had a feeling that my time at SOM was just the beginning and that I would continue a personal journey of learning, earning and returning,” Boswell wrote to the News.
Boswell fondly recalled “ice-skating at the whale, attending football games or Woolsey Hall concerts” and credited the University for its “super supportive and collaborative environment.”
Following her graduation, Boswell joined the Alumni Schools Committee and interviewed prospective students. She both served on — and led — the University Council, helping with the expansion of the residential colleges.
Looking ahead, both Graham and Boswell expressed their desire to make a Yale education more widely available to all.
“The more diverse the student body becomes, the more diverse the alumni body becomes,” Graham wrote.
Boswell emphasized that she hopes to see improved accessibility at Yale, including additional tuition-free schools and online access to “ground-breaking” classes. She mentioned Laurie Santos’ Coursera class, “The Science of Well-Being,” as an example.
The Yale Medal nomination window is open year-round. Nominations provided by alumni or friends of Yale get reviewed by a selection committee of at least six YAA board members and administrative figures such as the Provost, Secretary and Vice President for Student Life and a representative from the President’s Office, among others.
Even after graduation, many Yale alumni continue to engage with the school in ways that extend beyond college interviews and donations. Alumni provide “networking and mentoring opportunities for students on Cross Campus and through 1stGenYale,” YAA executive director Weili Cheng ’77 wrote to the News.
Graham encouraged graduating seniors to get involved with the YAA as soon as they leave Phelps Gate.
“You are a student on campus for a few years, but a Yale alum for the rest of your life — invest in the community of fellow alumni, the students and the institution as a whole,” Graham wrote.
The YAA helps organize events for alumni centered around “lifelong learning/intellectual engagement, career and professional development, diversity, equity, and inclusion and social engagement,” Cheng explained.
Today, the YAA helps guide 180 regional clubs and associations worldwide, over 70 Yale College classes and graduate school alumni associations.
Correction, Oct. 14: This story was updated to reflect Lauren Graham’s current employment position.