George Pierson ’26 GRD ’36 famously termed Yale “at once a tradition, a company of scholars, a society of friends.” Today, that society numbers just under 200,000 strong. Nearly 90 percent of those are Yale alumni. Indeed, virtually every student at Yale today — undergraduate, graduate, professional — is or will soon be a Yale alum. Despite this, the pages of the “Yale paper of record,” the Yale Daily News, see little discussion of and virtually no authorship by alumni. We are here to do something about that.

Legendary Yale football coach Herman Hickman once described the proper approach as “keeping the alumni sullen but not mutinous.” We are neither. We are not stone-throwers from afar, ignorant of the place as it exists today, motivated by nostalgia for a Yale seen only “through mem’ry’s haze.” We are not only Yale alumni but Yale parents and active Yale volunteers. Akhil Amar is a Sterling Professor who has been on the campus continuously for 48 years. Andy Lipka is a Jonathan Edwards College Fellow who ran for membership on the Yale Corporation, and has been nominated for the Yale Medal repeatedly. 

We believe that a lifelong relationship among Yale and its alumni is in everyone’s interests, but a much broader conception of that relationship is needed. Certainly it must extend far beyond the donor-recipient model Yale has prioritized in recent years. We have led programs that pursue and further that vision. Indeed, although we overlapped at Yale College, our friendship began at a Yale alumni program led by Andy, taught by Akhil, and widely loved by alumni.

For 180 consecutive weeks, we have hosted a podcast, “Amarica’s Constitution,” which showcases Akhil’s expertise and Andy’s Yale-nourished intellectual curiosity. In addition to its constitutional focus, the podcast also discusses many things Yale, and celebrates the fellowship and possibilities that all Yale alumni should enjoy. Now we bring our insights, experience, perspective, concerns and leadership to you through this column.

As on our podcast we will surely address constitutional matters from time to time, particularly when they relate to Yale. Our aim here is to be true friends of Yale — to offer what may often be a different approach to issues of the day, certainly, but also to convey a vision of Yale that is inclusive in a way that has largely been absent from the many discussions of “belonging” and related concepts that seem to dominate the pages of Yale’s press releases and press coverage. We will point out what we see as Yale’s errors, but we will also offer a path to Yale’s greatness. We will celebrate Yale when it lives up to its highest purposes. And we will offer to help, personally and collectively.

Of course we do not claim to represent all alumni, and we may bring in guests from time to time with different perspectives; in fact, we invite alumni to submit columns with contrary viewpoints when you disagree. We do claim to be informed, involved, active and true friends of Yale. So in the near future, we will begin with our take on Yale’s new president, Maurie McInnis GRD ’90 GRD ’96, and the process that brought her to this position. We hope to meet with President McInnis to help inform this column. We will discuss Yale’s mission — did you know that Yale’s mission statement was fundamentally changed in this decade, without comprehensive input from the Yale community? We will discuss Yale’s constituencies, and who are the proper caretakers of its traditions and legacies. Speaking of legacies, we will discuss Yale admissions. And this is just the beginning.

Our podcast has touched on some of these topics in the past. For example, former Yale Dean of Admissions, Jeffrey Brenzel ’75, was a guest for two episodes right after the Students for Fair Admissions v. Harvard case was decided. We may refer you to the in-depth analysis that the podcast’s 90 minute format permits, but here in our columns we will take a very Yale-focused approach. We hope to provoke discussion and rethinking, with a goal of making a new Yale — where alumni are not sullen, not mutinous, but where they are at home. Join us.

AKHIL REED AMAR is a Sterling Professor of Law and Political Science. Professor Amar graduated from Yale College in 1980, and from Yale Law School in 1984. Contact him at

ANDREW LIPKA is the President of EverScholar, a nonprofit that conducts immersive learning programs, originally for Yale alumni, and now for all. Dr. Lipka graduated from Yale College in 1978, and from the Albert Einstein College of Medicine in 1982. He is a fellow of Jonathan Edwards College. Contact him at

Akhil and Andy co-host the weekly podcast, Amarica’s Constitution. Their column, “Yale Friends for Life,” runs frequently and discusses all things Yale — its successes, shortcomings, and mission — from the perspective of two alumni who love our small college. 

Andrew Lipka ('78) registered as a petition candidate for alumni fellow for the 2022 election. He is an associate fellow of Jonathan Edwards College, alumni lead of the Yale for Life program (2013-2019), a board member of Yale Alumni College and founder and director of its Princeton campus. Contact him through or at