News from Alumni House

Reunions — and more reunions!

Mark Dollhopf ’77 is executive director of the Association of Yale Alumni.

Happy New Year! Many of you -- those alumni graduating in the 4s and 9s -- recently received the kick-off mailing for your reunions. You will note the extraordinary offerings your classes are planning for you this year. In these economically uncertain times a reunion not only makes for a great short family vacation, but also for a time to enjoy the assurance of friends and the inspiring reconnections of your larger Yale family.

Reunions have been a strong draw for alumni at least since 1792, when the Reverend Timothy Mather Cooley compiled biographical summaries for each member of his class. Upon receiving those biographies you just know someone said, "We should get together!"

These days, however, classes aren't the only groups coming back to Yale for reunions.

Since last September and continuing through 2010, at least 17 reunions -- in addition to the class reunions -- have been scheduled, many of them a reflection of the new AYA strategic plan to better support and enable Shared Interest Groups (SIGs).

Historically, Yale alumni have connected to each other and back to the university through three main channels: Yale College classes, regional Yale clubs, and graduate and professional school alumni associations. Recognizing that these traditional affiliations may not reach or connect all alumni, the AYA has begun to expand its outreach on the basis of shared interests.

These interests may come in one of three forms: (1) shared identity, such as Latino, black, Native American, Asian, or LGBT; (2) shared interest based on what you did, or how you affiliated, as students -- such as athletics, singing, drama, debate, or politics; and (3) shared professional or vocational interests based on what you do today.

This is an exciting and important initiative for us. We now have two professional staff members, Kameka M. Dempsey ’99 and Nicholas Roman Lewis ’93, who have been recruited to work with these Shared Interest Groups, focusing in particular on the efforts of the shared identity groups mentioned above.

Alumni leaders of two of these groups are planning important first reunions (coming up soon!), and if you count yourself among them we hope you will contact us to join in the celebration.

The Yale Latino Alumni Association and its interim national board are planning the first-ever reunion for all Latino alumni, to be held on campus this spring, the weekend of April 3-5, 2009. For more information on this event e-mail

Yale GALA, Yale's organization for LGBT alumni, will host the first-ever Yale LGBT reunion the weekend of April 24-26, 2009, celebrating 40 years of student organizing, the 25th anniversary of the founding of Yale GALA, Yale's rise to the top of LGBTQ scholarship, and the opening of Yale's new Office of LGBTQ Resources. For more information on this event, visit

In addition to the above first reunions, the Afro-American Cultural Center will celebrate its 40th anniversary October 16-18, 2009, with the theme "Charting a Course for the Next Generation of Black Yalies." The weekend will feature panels and speakers highlighting the black experience at Yale and its influence in the world at large, as well as cultural and artistic performances by students and alumni. For more information on this event please e-mail Dean Pamela George, , or visit

Who else is having reunions? Among them: the Yale Political Union (75th), Yale Debate Association (100th), Yale Five-Year BA (35th), Shades (20th), Spizzwinks(?) (95th), Yale Alumni Chorus (10th), and the Whiffenpoofs (100th) -- to name but a few.

In addition, groups representing vocational interests in real estate, energy, theater, engineering, and entrepreneurship are planning reunions or conferences. For more information about any of these activities, give us a call, or drop us a line at

Welcome to the new AYA.

And come back for a reunion, any reunion!


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