Yale Professor Shelly Kagan: Utopia & the Ideal Human Life

3 JUNE 2019 | 6:00 PM - 8:30 PM

Considered one of Yale’s most thought-provoking lecturers, Clark Professor of Philosophy Shelly Kagan is our 2019 Redpath lecturer — recommended by a recent grad who speaks of Shelly (as he answers to) as one of the high points of his college days. Known academically for his work in normative ethics, Shelly’s class on death is equally popular online as part of Yale Open Courses.

Most humans, for most of human history, did not have the luxury to think about philosophical questions in a systematic and sustained way. Even most humans alive today do not have that luxury. I have a job that allows me to sit around and think about philosophical questions. Not only that—I teach at Yale, where I work with some of the smartest people on the planet: undergraduates, graduate students, and colleagues. My job gives me the gift of being able to think about philosophical questions with these people. I am forever grateful that I have been given this chance.

The title of his talk is: Games, Utopia, and the Ideal Human Life: What would an ideal human life look like?  Let’s let our imaginations run free, allowing us to put aside all the things that we do now only because we have to. Imagine instead an incredible Utopia where technology liberates us from all of that:  a society where technology can instantly, painlessly and effortlessly provide you with anything you need. How then would you fill your days? What, exactly, would you still choose to do? Shelly will help us explore one fascinating possible answer to this question: that all that would be left for us to do, as the true essence of the ideal human life, would be to play games. This topic can be entertained from many perspectives, and so alumni with various interest will have something to consider and contribute.

To understand how he engages his audience with ideas, consider that he doesn’t use PowerPoint. So free of AV needs, his reception and talk on Monday, June 3rd, will be at the home of Allison Westfahl Wagner ’01. The event starts at 6:00 pm with light appetizers and wine & beer. After time to socialize and meet Shelly, he will give his presentation, which will be followed by Q&A. This event also functions as the Colorado Yale Association’s annual meeting.

An opportunity to have a top-notch Yale experience in Colorado, this CYA event has been a while in the making and promises to be memorable. There is a cap on the number of attendees and a one-guest limit. So sign up asap. Admission is $25 payable by PayPal or by check: Colorado Yale Association, P.O. Box 911, Denver, CO 80201. Please take the extra step and RSVP to Stephanie Grilli, so that she can provide the address and other communications:


Ice Cream Social: Welcome YC Class of 2023!

2 JUNE 2019 | 3:00 - 5:00 PM

Join together with fellow alumni and current students to welcome the Colorado students in the incoming Yale College freshmen on Sunday, June 2nd, starting at 3:00 pm. ASC volunteers may be particularly keen to meet those who were accepted and who matriculated, but alumni from all schools and programs are invited. As you ponder what toppings you want, share your memories of our alma mater and of New Haven with with those about to make their own and meet fellow alums. This year’s hosts are Sandy Weil ’93 and Anne Weil ’94, 2565 Elm Street, Denver 80207. This family-friendly event is free, but spaces please lease RSVP to Stephanie Grilli by Saturday, June 1st, to provide attendee numbers for correct frozen treat and toppings purchases :


Yale Day of Service, Saturday May 11th

MAY 2019

Yale Day of Service is a wonderful way for members of the Yale community to meet and reconnect with alumni. While many donate in many throughout the year to non-profits and causes, by participating as a group we reaffirm to ourselves and show to others the Yale alumni commitment to giving back. Our service opportunities are selected so that volunteers can contribute to an initiative’s success with only a few hours of time. Some are family friendly or allow teens at certain ages to participate.

Boys and Girls Club of Metro Denver, State Education Day, Jeffco Boys and Girls Club, Lakewood, 9:30 am – 2:00 pm, Joe Smith ’88 organizer [Saturday, April 27th]

Thorne Nature Experience at Sombrero Marsh, Boulder, 9:00 am – 1:00 pm, Oak Thorne ’51 MS ’53 organizer

Denver Botanic Gardens, Spring Plant Sale, 7:30 – 1:00 pm, Samantha Lichtin ’16 organizer

“Stamp Out Hunger” drive, Wheat Ridge Post Office, 11:00 am – 3:00 pm, Ben Jacobs ’17 organizer

Schmitt Elementary School Farm, Denver, 10:00 am – 1:00 pm, Jorge Figueroa MF ’08 organizer [Saturday, May 18th]

Details and registration can be found on the Yale Day of Service website. If you will be traveling, you can find service opportunities at locations in other states and countries.


Bulldogs Invite CYA to Coach Tony Reno Reception

28 MAY 2019 | 5:30 - 7:30 PM

Bulldogs John Saunders ‘94, Erik Jensen ‘63, Paul Lata ‘82, Dan Mellish ‘95, Jay Sturhahn ‘95, and Peter Calamari ‘97 invite all Yale alumni and their guests to a reception for Coach Tony Reno on Tuesday May 28th in Peter’s home in the Country Club neighborhood of Denver, 1428 East 4th Avenue.

Coach Reno will be coming to Colorado to give an update on the new recruits coming to New Haven in the class of 2023 and to talk about the overall state of athletics at Yale.

The event starts at 5:30 and is free, but tax-deductible donations to  the Yale football recruiting and travel fund are welcome. Libations and hors d’oeuvres. You must RSVP to John Saunders by May 24th:; 303-396-2528.


An Inspirational Evening with Dr. Matthew Weed ’93 PhD ’04

20 MAY 2019 | 6:15 - 8:15 PM

Dr. Matthew Weed ’93 PhD ’04 is the first totally blind, type I diabetic graduate of Yale (three times), Princeton, and Harvard. He skis, canoes, kayaks, is an indoor climber, has completed a rollerblading marathon, and traveled around the world twice. Matthew’s win-win philosophy has improved his life and those of thousands of others.

Matthew has made a life of finding cost-effective win-win solutions to complex problems. He co-developed one of the first methods to convert books into electronic text usable by people with reading challenges, helped launch a $150 million research center at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, and has built eight programs that have exposed thousands of pre-health and health professions students to how people with chronic health needs manage (and often fail to manage) outside of the clinical setting. Matthew’s win-win philosophy has improved his life—and thousands of others’, too.

Meet Matthew on Monday, May 20th, at the Alliance Center, 1536 Wynkoop Street, Denver (walking distance from Union Station). Start time is 6:00 pm, and the presentation starts at 6:15. The Serendipity Cafe will remain open for attendees to purchase wine, beer, or other beverages. The presentation starts at 6:15.

Matthew will tell you about many of the great people he has gathered who joined him  in doing these things and more. He will tell you how many of them came to know him. You will hear that many of them say knowing him has had a positive impact in their lives. Knowing how building community has helped him, he wants to make it easier for you do good things for yourselves and others. At the end of his talk he will ask people in the audience to very briefly describe who you are, what you do, and what you hope to accomplish. Whether you’re a web designer looking for clients or a parent looking for an opportunity for your daughter to intern, this event can be a springboard for accomplishing great things in your life and for others. If you have them, bring business cards.

Tickets are $10. Purchase with PayPal or by sending a check to Colorado Yale Association, P.O. Box 911, Denver, CO, 80201. Please also RSVP to Stephanie Grilli:


YANA Lunch with Mike Johnston ’97 JD ’03

6 MAY 2019 | 12:00 - 1:30 PM

Mike Johnston ’97 JD ’03, former senior education policy advisor to Barack Obama and former Colorado state senator, will make a presentation to the Colorado chapter of YANA (Yale Alumni Non-Profit Alliance) on Monday, May 6th, over the lunch hour (12:00-1:30 pm). The event will be in the groundfloor conference room of 501 South Cherry Street, Denver.

Mike has been invited to speak about his work in social justice and education. He is a co-founder of New Leaders, which is a national educational non-profit whose goal of developing transformational school leaders, and of the Urban Leaders Fellowship, a seven-week fellowship for leaders with a focus on policy and practice. He was also principal of three different schools in some of Colorado’s most under-served communities and a teacher in rural Mississippi.

Mike will share about his experiences, address non-profits from the lens of government, and offer valuable insights of interest to YANA members. Colorado Yale alumni and their guests are welcome to this event to hear Mike and to learn more about this national shared-interest group. Please RSVP HERE. For questions, contact Michael Mazer ’78:; or Rachel Tibbetts ’99: