A Message from New AYA Director J. Weili Cheng '77

Dear Fellow Yalies,

Fall semester is in full swing and I find myself in a new position:  Executive Director of the Association of Yale Alumni.  After 35 years of traveling between Washington, D.C. and New Haven in various volunteer roles, I am excited to be back on the campus that was once my home.

Yale still feels like home.  And I am happy to report that our campus and its community have experienced an extraordinary revitalization.

The Gothic edifices of the Pauli Murray and Benjamin Franklin residential colleges are rising on Prospect Street.  The School of Management’s modern glass Edward P. Evans Hall strikes a counterpoint to the Peabody Museum across the street, as does the School of Forestry and Environmental Studies’ Kroon Hall near the Whale (a/k/a Ingalls Rink).  Other new and renovated buildings grace the campus, with more on the way.  Off campus, one encounters new apartment complexes and dozens of terrific restaurants, attracting epicureans from near and far. 

Despite these changes, much remains the same.  The students are bright, curious and pursue a myriad of interests and activities.  The faculty and administration remain dedicated, caring and engaged.  I am invigorated by the spirited discussions on topics ranging from the serious to the silly and from the challenging to the fun.  These stimulating and freewheeling dialogues remind me of my experiences as a Yalie in the 1970s.  I am happy that all members of the Yale community -- alumni, faculty, students and administrators, continue to strive to make Yale and the world a better place.

Also unchanged is the Yale administration’s desire to hear from alumni.  As I embark on this new journey, I want to hear from you!  You can reach me at weili.cheng@yale.edu.  As your Executive Director, I look forward to writing to you about various alumni and on-campus activities.  Some items that might be of interest to you are as follows.

  • Careers, Life and Yale has connected hundreds of alumni with over 1,000 students.  (Click here)
  • The AYA Diversity and Inclusion Task Force has begun planning local programming to ensure best practices throughout our alumni programs.
  • 2016 Yale College reunions set attendance records with over 7,000 alumni and their families!
  • 3,000 alumni globally participate annually in Yale’s Day of Service.  Won’t you join us?  (Click here)
  • President Peter Salovey has appointed the Committee to Establish Principles on Renaming.  See (AnnouncementYDN articleYale News article).  The Committee Chair, Professor John Witt seeks your input at (comment page). Your comments will be most useful if submitted by October 7. 
  • Later this year, President Salovey will be outlining his academic priorities for the future.

President Salovey views alumni as a vital part of the Yale community.  He has made this clear in my discussions with him and I see it in all his interactions with alumni.  He greatly values your comments and you may reach him at president@yale.edu

I hope to see you soon, either here on our beautiful campus or in your community. 

Remember to follow news about Yale (click here)!

Best regards,


J. Weili Cheng, ‘77

P.S.  Sally’s and Pepe’s continue to serve their famous pizza pies.  (I am hooked on Sally’s tomato pies and plan to visit Pepe’s soon.)