Colorado Black Yale Alumni Social Gathering

15 November 2020 | 5:00 pm - 6:30 pm

Last November, a number of black alumni had dinner with members of the YAA staff, the evening before Yale Explores. There was discussion of the Coloradans meeting again and possibly developing a chapter of the Yale Black Alumni Association. This is the 50th anniversary of the Yale Afro-American House, and it seems a fitting time to connect at a virtual social gathering. Daphne Butler ’87, JD ’91 will host a Zoom meeting on Sunday, November 15th, starting at 5:00 pm. Email her to RSVP or to express interest if you can’t attend:

Check out the podcast Welcome to the (AfAm) House, which “that explores stories from the past, present and future told by the Black people who know them best.”


Colorado Latinx Yale Alumni Social Gathering

8 November 2020 | 6:00 pm - 7:30 pm

Quintin Gonzalez ’97 MFA, “La Llarosa (The Weeping Woman)” (2020)

Come join David Sanchez ’84 MPhil, ’84 MA, chair of the Yale Latino Alumni Network, Marco Abarca ’85, Isabel Cruz ’17, and Jovan Tafoya ’21 on Sunday, November 8th, starting a 6:00 pm for a virtual social gathering. What would have been a get-together in Marco’s home will now be a Zoom meeting for those who identify as Latino in the Colorado Yale Community, and those who are interested in the mission of YLAN are welcome too. The purpose is getting to know one another, and it will also be an exploratory gathering to see what interest there is in a Colorado chapter of YLAN. Please RSVP to Stephanie Grilli: If you can’t attend but are interested in YLAN, email Stephanie to let her know.

The image above is by Quintin Gonzalez, a graduate of the Yale School of Art and Fine Arts Professor at the University of Colorado whose work is included in the Abarca Family Collection. Marco Abarca ’85 is on the board of trustees of the Latino Cultural Arts Center whose core collection was created by his parents Luis and Martha. The collection is on exhibit at History Colorado through January 20, 2021, in Hecho en Colorado.


Colorado Ballot Measures: Live Pro & Con Primers

4 & 11 October 2020 | 5:00 pm - 6:15 pm

This coming election, Coloradans have a daunting list of ballot initiatives about which to make informed decisions. The Colorado Yale Association is offering two informational Zoom sessions on consecutive Sundays devoted to six state ballot initiatives with notable pro and con advocates in a fast-paced format.

This project was inspired by a political “odd couple” friendship between Sue Damour and Joe Smith ’88, who began regular discussions about political issues, after several years of talking politics at CYA holiday parties. They have put together a line-up of experts whose pairings are sure to create a few sparks, and their mutual friend, recent senatorial candidate Andrew Romanoff ’89, will be the moderator.

Session #1, October 4th, 5:00-6:15 pm:  Income Tax Reduction: Chris Hansen & Jon Caldara; TABOR: Chris Hansen & Michael Fields; Gallagher Amendment: Chris Hansen & Linda Gorman

Session #2, October 11th, 5:00-6:15 pm:  Reintroduction of the gray wolf: Ted Harvey & Rick Ridder; National Popular Vote (NPV): Scott Gessler ’87 & Stu Zeiger; Paid Family/Medical Leave: Linda Gorman & Ashley Panelli

Jon Caldara is the President of the Independence Institute, Colorado’s libertarian think tank. He is well-known as the host of radio talk programs on 630 KHOW and 850 KOA as well as his current affairs television program, Devil’s Advocate with Jon Caldara, on Colorado Public Television Channel 12. Caldara started his political career in 1994 when he was elected to the Board of Directors of the Regional Transportation District, later becoming Chairman of the board. As president of the Independence Institute, he has actively worked to restrain government spending and on voter registration legislation.

A community activist, Sue Damour has had a political career working for the Obama and Clinton administrations, Congressman David Skaggs and Governor Richard Lamm. She currently volunteers for State Senator Chris Hansen. Sue has also been privileged to work for the Women’s Foundation of Colorado, Planned Parenthood of the Rocky Mountains and The Bell Policy Center. Her husband, Tim is Yale ‘64; her daughters Lisa, Yale ‘92 and Kristin ‘93 are proud graduates as well.

Michael Fields works as the Executive Director of Colorado Rising Action. Previously he served as the State Director for Americans for Prosperity – Colorado and as a policy aide at the Colorado State House and worked as a press aide for the U.S. Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions. Fields is a former middle school teacher, as well as a former Governing Board president at a charter school in Aurora. He appears as a political analyst for Fox31. Michael Fields was a 2014 Republican candidate for District 37 of the Colorado House of Representatives.

Scott Gessler ’87 is the former Secretary of State of Colorado. Gessler began his law career as a federal prosecutor for the Department of Justice in Washington, D.C. He served as a reservist in the United States Army for sixteen years and has served overseas in locations such as Bosnia where he ran a Civil-Military Cooperation Centre. Moving to Colorado, Gessler joined Hackstaff Gessler LLC, a Denver-based private practice law firm, where he still works today. Gessler has taught election law at the University of Colorado Law School. Gessler is also a past president of CYA.

Linda Gorman is Director of the Health Care Policy Center at the Independence Institute, a libertarian think tank in Denve. With a PhD in economics, she studies and provides commentary on health care reform in Colorado and the United States. She was a member of Colorado’s Blue Ribbon Commission for Healthcare Reform and a co-author of one of the Commission’s minority reports. She was previously an economics professor at the Naval Postgraduate School in Monterey, California.

Ben Shahn, “Voting Booths” (1950)

Chris Hansen is the State Senator for Colorado Senate District 31 and was formerly the Representative for House District 6. He was selected as one of fifteen leaders from across the country to join the NewDEAL (Developing Exceptional American Leaders), a selective national network of rising state and local elected officials. Hansen serves as the Co-Founder and Director of Programming at the Colorado Energy & Water Institute and as Co-Founder of the Colorado Science and Engineering Policy Fellowship. He was author of the legislation for the repeal of Gallagher.

Ted Harvey was elected to the Colorado House of Representatives representing the 43rd House District in 2001. Elected in 2006 to the Colorado Senate, he represented Senate District 30. He began his political career as a staffer in the Reagan White House. Harvey serves as Chairman of the Committee to Defend the President, a pro-Trump super PAC. He was a Colorado delegates to the 2020 Republican National Convention.

Ashley Panelli is the Paid Leave Campaign Manager with 9to5 Colorado advocating for accessible paid family and medical leave policies across the state. She began her organizing work as the chair of the Denver DSA Socialist Feminist committee and prioritizes centering women and people of color in the fight for economic justice. Prior to working at 9to5, Ashley was a Qualified Intellectual Disabilities Professional for developmentally-disabled women with psychiatric disorders.

Rick Ridder is President and Co-Founder of RBI Strategies and Research. A former presidential campaign manager and a senior consultant for six other presidential campaigns, Rick has consulted for numerous U.S. Congressional, gubernatorial, and state and local initiative campaigns and has worked in over 23 nation, including the successful campaigns of seven heads of state. For his work in electoral reform, Rick was recognized with the “Award of Achievement” from the Gleitsman Foundation at the Harvard Kennedy School for “commitment and leadership initiating social change.”

Andrew Romanoff ‘89 is an American politician, attorney and academic.  In Colorado, he worked for Congressman David Skaggs and was a senior policy advisor to Governor Roy Romer.  He was a member of the Colorado House of Representatives from 2000-2008, serving as Speaker from 2005-2009.  Romanoff ran for Congress in 2010, 2014, and 2020.  As an academic, he has taught government at University of Colorado/Denver, Metro State and Red Rocks Community College.  From 2015 to 2019, Andrew served as President and CEO of MentalHealth Colorado.

Joe Smith ’88 was a conservative student leader at Yale in the late 1980s, chairing the largest conservative party in the Yale Political Union. At law school at the University of Chicago, he was president of nation’s largest chapter of the Federalist Society.  Smith has been on the board of the Independence Institute for the last 20 years and currently chairs the board of ACE Scholarships, which promotes school choice. He typically represents commercial plaintiffs. although in 2000, he was on the trial team representing George W. Bush against Al Gore.

Stu Zeiger and his wife Olga  moved to Denver seven years ago from Philadelphia, where they were both active in the Democratic Party. Stu Zeiger has been a Precinct Committee Person for House District 6 and serves as an Election Judge in the Signature Verification Department. He was active in the promotion of SB 19-042 to have Colorado join the National Popular Vote Agreement. Zeiger’s career was in Information Technology: first as the Director of Product Management at ADP Financial Services and then as Vice President of IT at the National Headquarters of Big Brothers Big Sisters of America.

Each session will start at exactly 5:00 pm.. After introductions, each advocate will have 5 minutes to present their case followed by 7 minutes of questions for both presenters. Questions must be pre-submitted or submitted using the chat function during the event. Attendees will be on mute. The events are free but you must pre-register. Email Stephanie Grilli:

You will receive the Zoom address before the date. Please read the ballot initiatives before each event. You can find them in the Bluebook you received in the mail or on Ballotpedia.


Virtual CYA Happy Hour

23 September 2020 | 6:00 PM - 7:00 PM

As social distancing continues into the fall, CYA has scheduled a September virtual happy hour on Wednesday the 23rd starting at 6:00 pm. We’re calling it a “happy hour,” because it’s a stand-in for the sort of gathering that might usually take place at bar or restaurant. It’s an opportunity for Yalies to meet and get to know one another, and because it’s virtual, people from across Colorado can join in.

With the capacity to connect across the miles, the virtual happy hour could become a regular feature of CYA programming, even when we can meet in-person again. Depending on how many show up on the 23rd, we might split into breakout rooms. The time is given as 6 to 7, but there won’t be a hard “leave meeting.”  For security reasons, the Zoom address won’t be posted publicly. RSVP to Stephanie Grilli, and you’ll get the Zoom address before the date:

October Happy Hour, Wednesday on the 26th, starting at 6:00. RSVP to Stephanie Grilli.


BOLD Conversations: A Taste of These Times

1st & 3rd Thursdays | 2020-

BOLD stands for “Bulldogs of the Last Decade” and is a Yale Alumni Association initiative to bring young graduates of Yale College and the Yale graduate schools into the alumni community.

Colorado BOLD alums ( 2011-20) and current Yale students are invited to join CYA board members Ben Jacobs ’17, Bo Reynolds ’14, and Samantha Lichtin ’16 in conversation on core issues of our generation. In times that make us question everything Yale taught us the world would, could, should be, we harken back to late night philosophy in the stacks, dining halls, and off-campus. The hope is this will be a space to explore and challenge our thoughts, fears, and dreams, and to just enjoy an intensity of our own making in the company of others who keep asking “but why?”.  BOLD Conversations will take place the 1st and 3rd Thursday of the month from 7 to 8:30ish pm on Zoom. The series starts Sept 10th (one week later due to Labor Day)  with “What I Wish Yale Taught Me” followed by “What Does It Mean to be a Citizen” on the 17th.

Future topics may include:

– State of the World
– Civic Duty
– Personal Responsibility
– Making Community
– What is Science? Does it matter?
– What is Law? Does it matter?
– The Public Good
– Textual Originalism
– To be “Well Read”
– Leadership Vacuum
– Climate Anxiety
– Is Democracy in Danger?
– All Men are Created Equal
– Equity and Equality
– Social Capital
– Classism (and the other isms, too)
– My Hometown is Segregated
– High School Never Ends
– Arrested Development
– Indebtedness
– Work / Life Balance (lol)
– I Love / Hate Technology
– Am I a Cog?
– I am Enough
– I Promise I’m not Crazy
– A Good Life

Please email Ben at if you would like to join the BOLD Conversation, and you’ll get the url before the zoom meeting. We look forward to exploring with you soon.

The photo shows Trumbull dining hall where in 1968 Kingman Brewster announced that college residents would be expected to cede their rooms to incoming freshwomen. “All hell broke loose. By the end of the four hour meeting, Brewster had admitted defeat and agreed to listen to an alternative plan offered by the students. In the end, most of the 250 freshwomen were housed in Vanderbilt Hall on Old Campus and the 380 transfer students were distributed equally among the colleges.” 


Virtual Colorado Newcomers Party

16 AUGUST 2020 | 6:00 PM - 7:30 PM

Paul Klee, “Blooming” (1934)

It’s been three years, since CYA has had a newcomers party, and many Yalies have come to Colorado since. Given public health concerns, this time a gathering will be held virtually on Sunday August 16th, starting at 6:00 pm. With opportunities to meet people limited, a Zoom event to connect with fellow alums may be all the more appreciated. All alumni are invited in order to welcome newcomers, and the arrival date for “newcomer” is broadly defined.

With Zoom, people from all over the state can participate readily, and the hope is that we can use it to engage Yalies even when social distancing is lifted.  This is an opportunity to see how the club can start to use virtual events in the schedule. A bonus is that alumni who have yet to move can participate in the newcomers party. Please pass the word to any new arrival you know, because they may not have updated their info on the YAA alumni directory.  RSVP to Stephanie Grilli, and you’ll receive the Zoom address before the 16th: