Association of Yale Alumni
2017 Assembly LXXVII
November 16-17, 2017
New Haven, CT

“Creating Communities at Yale”
Notes on the Fall ’17 AYA Assembly — Tim Brown

Despite some cold and overcast weather, it was a very upbeat few days at Yale culminating, of course, with Yale’s convincing victory over Harvard!

The title of the Assembly was “Creating Communities at Yale”, and this year the attendance included both Yale Alumni Associations and Yale Alumni Fund participants. Representatives came from all around the world (we were told there was a representative from Russia) so, as you can imagine, this was a very large gathering.

Should you have attended you would have heard statements on Community efforts by Deans representing several areas at Yale: the Dean of the Yale School of Music, the Dean of Yale College, the Dean of Yale’s Graduate School of Arts and Sciences and the Dean of the School of Public Health. There was a wide ranging discussion of their own communities and their efforts (mostly successful) to relate to the University as well as Society as a whole.

A second panel on this same subject focused on creating new communities at Yale: the Director of Dwight Laboratory, the Director of the Office of International Students and Scholars, Exec.Director of Tsai City (Center of Innovative Thinking at Yale), and the Director of the Office of LGBTQ Resources.

Creating Communities is a broad, diffuse topic and one could say, hardly a controversial subject, particularly given the basic structure of Yale with its small residential colleges. relatively small graduate schools and Yale’s overall student size. This conference then was an opportunity for Yale alumni to learn about Yale’s many “communities” (I mention above just a few) and how they are broadening their respective community efforts both within the University and beyond. Concurrently, we had an opportunity to learn about Yale programs which perhaps were not familiar to the average graduate: Dwight Laboratory, and Tsai City as examples. All in all, Yale is impressively moving into the world of innovative thinkers.

I, for one, had a chance to visit one of the new residential colleges (they are Benjamin Franklin and Pauli Murray) which, with their beautiful courtyards, dining halls and libraries are most impressive, not to mention the shared gym and performance/theatre spaces.

A few of the statistics gleaned from the Dean of Admissions presentation: 63% of Yale students receive some sort of financial aid; the average need based scholarship was $43,989; they received 35,000 applicants last year, 20,000 of whom had personal interviews. He stressed the real value of personal interviews conducted by Yale alumni.

The highlight of all the sessions was, of course, the Yale Medal Dinner and the presentation of the Medal to our classmate Linus Travers for all of his magnificence service to Yale.

The extremely upbeat talk by President Peter Salovey was the centerpiece of the following day’s activities. Again, he stressed the many ways Yale is seeking to promote and strengthen its communities both as individual units, throughout the Yale community, and within society as a whole.

To mention one concern expressed was the fact that roughly 40% of seniors now live off campus. Hopefully the new residential colleges will prove an incentive to remain on campus.

No doubt, the Assembly successfully reinforced Yale’s strong ongoing programs and future plans and provided incentive to all alumni to work for and support Yale.

— Thatcher “Tim” Brown