Zoe Berg, Senior Photographer

Hundreds of alumni leaders flocked back to New Haven this week.

They gathered for a two-day series of programming hosted by the Yale Alumni Association Assembly and Yale Alumni Fund Convocation. This was the two organizations’ first in-person event since 2019.

Each year, the YAA Assembly and Yale Alumni Fund Convocation bring a cohort of graduates together to engage in discussion and to inform alumni about the impacts of Yale initiatives. This year, the two-day series of events took place November 10 and 11. 

In his welcoming remarks, University President Peter Salovey emphasized the importance of fostering a community of informed leaders that rely on facts and evidence. 

“It is Yale’s responsibility to share light and truth — to increase knowledge and understanding of pressing challenges,” he said during his opening statement. 

The forum’s theme, “Yale’s Global Initiatives: Impact for Humanity,” was central to Salovey’s speech and the following conversations regarding the University’s efforts to better the circumstances of people all around the world. 

The Jackson School of Global Affairs panel, which was led by Dean James Levinsohn and Ambassador Paul Simons, exemplified the theme of world-betterment. 

Simons recounted that his goal in giving the presentation was to accurately portray “what Yale was doing in terms of climate change, and [how] Yale really punches above its weight in the global environmental community.” 

He spoke about the impact of his position as a Senior Fellow at the Jackson School and described how programs like the Yale Emerging Climate Leaders Fellowship directly and positively influence global energy policymaking. 

Yale Board of Trustees members Joshua L. Steiner ’87, Marta L. Tellado GRD ’02 and Joshua Bekenstein ’80 hosted another plenary session open for participation. The events included award ceremonies presenting winners of the Yale Medal, the YAA Leadership Awards, YAA Board of Governors Excellence Awards and Alumni Schools Committee Awards. 

The Yale Medal is the highest award the YAA bestows, selecting an alum who best embodies Yale’s mission to receive the honor. The YAA Leadership Award recognizes alumni who have demonstrated strong leadership and service to Yale. The Board of Governors Excellence Award and the Alumni Schools Committee Award conversely, honor alumni groups for their contributions to the University. 

In addition to panel discussions and awards ceremonies, the YAA provided in-person, guided tours of the new facilities on Yale’s campus. Prior to the beginning of the Assembly and Convocation ceremonies, early participants had the option to explore new renovations of the Humanities Quadrangle, Schwarzman Center and Pauli Murray and Benjamin Franklin Colleges. 

The 2022 YAA Assembly and Yale Alumni Fund Convocation marked the return of traditional in-person proceedings. The annual event operated fully virtually in 2020 and 2021 due to public health restrictions intended to impede the spread of COVID-19. 

When asked about what plans the Yale Alumni Association has to continue bringing alumni together in the near future, Kaela Heaslip, the senior director for communications & marketing, said the group will take a varied approach. Current engagement strategies include social media, newsletters and regular events. 

Recordings from past YAA Assemblies & Yale Alumni Fund Convocations can be found on Vimeo on the YAA Webinars On-Demand page.

Eliza Josephson writes personal essays for the WKND desk as a staff reporter, ranging from contemplative memoir to light hearted satire. Originally from New York City, she is a sophomore in Pierson majoring in Comparative Literature.