Fellow Harvard Alumni Association of Utah (HAAU) Members-
Let me first introduce myself. My name is Stephen Aoki (Harvard College Class of 1994) and I am the incoming HAAU president for the 2019-2021 term. My wife and I have lived in Utah for twenty years and we are so fortunate to have our four children grow up in Salt Lake City. This is an exceptional community!
I recently attended my 25th year class reunion and it certainly brought back a lot of wonderful memories and rekindled old friendships. Every time I go back to the Harvard campus, regardless of how old my body feels, I seem to get reenergized, both mentally and physically. There is something special about surrounding yourself in the Harvard community, as most share the common bond of wanting to make the world a better place and prioritizing the importance of education.
Why join the HAAU? Being an active member of the HAAU allows us to stay linked with the Harvard community. Despite not living in Cambridge, we are all still able to remain connected to an institution that has provided us so many opportunities throughout our professional careers. For me, I am a better person through my involvement with HAAU, as it allows me to escape from my professional bubble and meet and network with other HAAU members with different professional interests. We have focused events throughout the year that cover numerous areas of interest: medicine, science, law, business, arts, politics, and social issues just to name a few. We also have social events if you just want to relax and have a good conversation with other alumni. As an organization, we support the schools and scholarships committee through the application and interview process for Harvard College. Our Committee Chairs, Erika Finlayson and Katherine Kennedy, as well as our alumni interviewers, put in countless hours into this process. Our group also supports scholarships and fellowship opportunities for current Utah students attending Harvard. Your dues help support the yearly events and scholarship opportunities and go towards strengthening our local Harvard community.
I’m thrilled to give you a preview of the upcoming year. On October 3rd, we are fortunate to have President Astrid Tuminez speak to us at the Alta Club. She is the current president of Utah Valley University and brings to us an incredible personal background and engaging personality. She will fill us in on the status of education in the 21st Century. On October 2nd, we will be holding our first “Welcome to Your City” social event at Maxwell’s in Downtown SLC. This event is supported by the central Harvard Alumni Association back in Cambridge. For the first time, we have had enough recent graduates move to our area to qualify to hold a Welcome to Your City event. This is exciting to have so many new graduates join our community!
Later in the year, we will have other speaking events including Lannie Chapman (SLC Chief Deputy Clerk) speaking on election security, Joshua Schiffman on cancer genetics and why elephants rarely get cancer, Kevin Jones will discuss science and medicine, and Lisa Grow Sun will put together another interesting legal panel forum. We are also looking to schedule political and business events and will keep you updated on the final schedule. Of course, we will continue to host our annual socials including the Harvard-Yale football game as well as the December holiday party hosted by the Kennedy-Yoon household.
Current HAAU members, thank you for your continued support. Many of the events and opportunities are made possible through your annual dues and donations. Harvard alumni that are not currently active members, I encourage you to join and come meet the rest of the HAAU community. I’m biased, but I think we have a great group here in Utah! If you are already a member and you would like to renew, please click here (renew). If you are joining for the first time, please click here (new member).
Lastly, I would like to thank Ron White, our outgoing HAAU president for his last two years of service. Thank you, Ron, for everything that you accomplished in your two-year tenure.
I look forward to meeting you all. If you have any questions, please feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. As an organization, we are always looking for others interested in being actively involved. If you have connections for potential dynamic speakers that may want to address the HAAU community or other event ideas, I would love to hear your suggestions.
Stephen K. Aoki
Harvard College, Class of 1994
President, Harvard Alumni Association of Utah