We’re on a roll. Think, for a moment, about the many universities visited by the Yale Global Alumni Leadership Exchange ‑ The Australian National University in Australia; Todai, Waseda, Kyoto, Ritsumeikan, and Doshisha, in Japan; Boğaziçi, Koç, Sabanci, Yaşar, and Bilkent in Turkey; Beida, Tsinghua, Fudan, Renmin, Sun Yat Sen and New Asia College in China. We have reached scores of additional schools through our World Alumni Leadership Conferences in Istanbul and Beijing. Next February we continue this remarkable run with exchanges in Israel.
What a legacy we are creating! What a…tradition.
Yale is at once a tradition, a company of scholars, a society of friends.
— George W. Pierson, Larned Professor of History
Professor Pierson first cites Yale as a “tradition.” As sons and daughters of Eli – especially alumni “ambassadors” ‑ we are steeped in it. The first class reunions were held 188 years ago in 1824 and continue to this day. Our first alumni “association” ‑ the Society of Yale Alumni ‑ was started 185 years ago in 1827. The first regional Yale Club – in Cincinnati – was formed 148 years ago in 1864. A relative newcomer, the AYA celebrates 40 years next year.
This summer we will be traveling to the United Kingdom, arguably the foundation of our Yale – and more broadly American – collegiate traditions to add another chapter to the YaleGALE tradition. Yale modeled its residential college life after Oxford and Cambridge. Many of our student “traditions” are rooted in the UK, from athletic – rowing, baseball (from cricket), football (from rugby), golf and many more, to music – glee clubs, to oratory – debate teams, and to political unions – the Tory Party et al. Think of Master’s Teas! The Elizabethan Club! Mory’s Pub! Heck, even our buildings are designed to look like Cambridge!
We’ll travel to the University of Edinburgh, a UNESCO World Heritage Site and the sixth oldest university in the United Kingdom, to University of Cambridge the second oldest (and the first university in most world rankings), and to University College London, the oldest institution of higher learning in London. We’ll learn of their alumni traditions while we share ours.
Each university will have their alumni leaders on campus to meet with us. In particular, YaleGALE has been invited to share the 5th annual Cambridge Alumni Day on July 7 when their alumni leadership comes back to campus to further develop their programs – does it sound familiar? Maybe we will get some new ideas for our Assembly!
Our YaleGALE program is planned for June 30 – July 11, 2012 (and we hope you can join us June 27 – June 30 at Henley to cheer on the Yale crew team and see some more of England). The details of our program are not finalized yet although we know we will be in Edinburgh July 1 – July 4, make a quick stop in Wrexham in Wales at St. Giles Church to visit the tomb of our very own Elihu Yale, be in Cambridge July 5 – July 8 and then spend the last three days in London. This will be a remarkable occasion for us, not only to discuss how and why we engage as Yale volunteer leaders, but also to learn about the culture in the UK today and make new friends.
Once again, we will discuss the benefits and the possibilities for broader alumni initiatives with our partnering institutions. If you have volunteered for Yale, you may be asked to sit on a panel with fellow Yale alumni or participate in other ways to share your experiences of volunteering at Yale – experiences such as reunions, class dinners, mini-reunions, club activities, AYA assemblies, AYA board meetings, Alumni Fund programs, shared interest group activities – any and all such ways you have contributed your time and talent.
In this alumni exchange we have the opportunity to transform the scope and breadth of alumni collaborations, and to share our gifts with the rest of the world. Please consider joining us – and helping us lead – this historic exchange. Please use the link to apply.
We will have orientation and training for the program in New Haven on Saturday, April 28 starting at 1 pm. You will receive details after you register for the program.