Craig Foster ’69
Craig Foster is a Class of 1969 graduate of Yale University and the New York University School of Law. After beginning his career at the William Morris Agency, he spent twelve years at CBS Sports, the last eight as head of their business affairs department.
In that capacity, Mr. Foster participated in all major negotiations at CBS Sports including the NFL, NBA, NCAA, PGA Tour and Olympics. He joined RLR Associates Limited in 1989. At RLR, Mr. Foster was integrally involved with RLR’s Itochu-NBA joint venture in Japan and the development and expansion of PGA of America properties including the PGA Championship and Ryder Cup.
In addition to his work on properties, Mr. Foster has been responsible for servicing RLR broadcast talent, producers and directors. He has worked with RLR’s highest profile clients, identifying opportunities for them and negotiating deals at all the major networks and other broadcast entities.
Ralph C. Dawson ’71
Ralph C. Dawson is a native of Charleston, South Carolina, where he grew up as one of 12 children. At Yale he developed not only his academic interests, but became a campus leader, participating in the establishment of the first African-American Studies Major at a leading American institution. He was also the leader of the Black Student Alliance at Yale during the tumultuous period known as “May Day 1970,” when New Haven, Connecticut and Yale was the site of a major murder trial involving the Black Panther Party, and a series of protests against the Vietnam War.
Ralph graduated from Columbia University School of Law in 1976, having served as an Editor of its Human Rights Law Review. Ralph has practiced law for 38 years, and is a Retired Partner and Of Counsel to the international law firm Norton Rose Fulbright (formerly Fulbright & Jaworski), where he has specialized in labor and employment law, and a broad range of civil litigation, handling matters in courts and administrative agencies throughout the United States. Ralph has been recognized by his peers as a “Super Lawyer,” and has held leadership positions in important committees of Bar, such as the Disciplinary Committee of the First Judicial Department in New York City. He also serves as the judicially appointed Receiver to preserve and distribute the recovered assets of Ascot Partners, one of the largest feeder funds involved in the Madoff Ponzi Scheme.
Ralph is also politically active. He served as a senior advisor to the Howard Dean for President Campaign in the 2004 election cycle, and worked on Dean’s election as Chairman of the Democratic National Committee (“DNC”). He was appointed to the DNC and assisted Dean, his college roommate, in the implementation of Dean’s acclaimed “50 State Strategy” to rebuild the Democratic Party. In 2008, he was a “Super Delegate” to the Democratic National Convention, and appeared on numerous programs such as the Lehrer News Hour, the CBS Evening News, and MSNBC. As a member of the DNC’s Rules and By-Laws Committee, Ralph played a prominent role in resolving disputes over the effect of primaries held in Florida and Michigan in violation of Democratic Party Rules. He endorsed Senator Barack Obama for President and served as Chair of the African-American Leadership Council of the Democratic National Committee in the 2008 election cycle.
Ralph serves on the Board of the Abyssinian Development Corporation. Ralph and his family live in New Rochelle.
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Vera F. Wells ’71
Vera F. Wells is the Director of the Sylvia Ardyn Boone Memorial Project. She was a member of Yale’s first undergraduate class to include women and also among the first to enroll in its African American Studies courses in 1969. After graduating in 1971 with a BA in psychology, she studied organization management at Harvard’s Kennedy School. Vera has consulted on education programs and conducted field research in Africa for international development projects. Most of her career, however, was spent as an NBC executive, beginning in promotional research for new TV programs and ending as Director of Corporate and Philanthropic Initiatives.
A former student of Professor Sylvia Ardyn Boone, Vera proposed the Yale seminar on Black women that originally recruited Boone to teach it in 1970 and set in motion their organizing the “Chubb Conference on the Black Woman.” She is Director of the Boone Memorial Project, overseeing the donation of Boone’s papers for archiving so they can be made available to scholars in the future. Ms. Wells used her own assets to endow both an undergraduate scholarship and a graduate student prize to honor her mentor at Yale, as well as her project to secure Boone’s literary estate and intellectual legacy. An active and committed alumna, Vera was the recipient of a 2007 Yale Medal for her volunteer service to the University. She has helped to organize events for women and Black alumni and has championed efforts to raise funds to support the Afro-American Cultural Center, Robert Farris Thompson’s portrait and the Women Faculty Forum. She was an at-large member of the University Council for 10 years, where she served on its Theater Review Committee, a founding committee member for YaleWomen and serves currently on the National Advisory Council of the Yale Black Alumni Association.
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Connie Royster ’72
Constance L. Royster is the principal of Laurel Associates LLC. She is a recognized fundraising, education, non-profit, and organizational leader. Her legal background provides her with significant expertise that has been invaluable to the institutional and individual leaders who have sought her out in times of transition, strategic decision-making, or crisis management. Those combined experiences are the foundation of her consulting practice and client engagements.
Ms. Royster has eighteen years of experience in leading fundraising roles at two iconic cultural and academic institutions. She served as the first ever director of major giving for WSHU National Public Radio station in Connecticut, and subsequently at Yale University, her alma mater, as associate director of development at the Yale School of Forestry & Environmental Studies, and then for a decade as director of development at the Yale Divinity School. She developed strategies for capital, annual, special and planned giving campaigns, and hired and managed implementation teams. Ms. Royster is known for her unique abilities to nurture and cultivate relationships across the cultural, economic, and international spectrum.
In addition to her work in direct fundraising, Ms. Royster created, staffed, and implemented external and public relations programs (including global conferences and campaigns in both print and video) leading to national and international attention for her graduate and professional school units and for the university. She organized countless civic engagements with notables including numerous members of Congress, former Prime Minister Tony Blair, and journalist and political commentator E. J. Dionne, to name just a couple.
A lawyer by training, prior to her work in the non-profit field, Ms. Royster was a law clerk to The Honorable Damon J. Keith on the United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit, an associate a Paul Weiss Rifkind Wharton & Garrison, an Assistant United States Attorney in the Southern District of New York, and was a founding partner and managing partner at Cooper, Liebowitz, Royster & Wright, a major minority and women owned New York law firm. Under her leadership, the firm grew substantially in size and reputation, with a client base of Fortune 100 and 500 corporations and United States Government entities.
Known for her outstanding people skills, Ms. Royster has advised senior university leaders, as well as secondary school heads and non-profit leaders. She has long been a leader and volunteer in multiple alumni networks, and served on the first board of governors of the Association of Yale Alumni. She has a deep perspective on town-gown, student life, and post-matriculation loyalty issues.
Ms. Royster is deeply committed to civic responsibility and has been entrusted with leadership positions at numerous national, local, and international organizations. The Community Foundation of Greater New Haven, Fund for Women and Girls, International Festival of Arts & Ideas, Dwight Hall at Yale - Center for Public Service and Social Justice, Federal Bar Council, and Yale Alumni Fund, are but a few of the boards that have benefited from her wisdom. She is a strong advocate for education, culture and equity.
Born and raised in New Haven, CT, Ms. Royster is a Fellow of Jonathan Edwards College at Yale. She received her juris doctor from Rutgers University Law School – Newark, and graduated with a B.A. cum laude from Yale University. She has received certificate training for gender, diversity and inclusion management, International Systemic Team Coaching, and Nonprofit Board Consulting, and is a graduate of the Community Leadership Program.
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Pamela Y. George has been at Yale since August 1999 and spent a decade as director of the Afro-American Cultural Center and assistant dean of student affairs. In these positions she increased Black student graduation rates, developed a stronger infrastructure encompassing a wide-range of student and community support services and programs, fundraised and managed a multi-million-dollar renovation of the Center, created a leadership development endowment, and expanded Yale Black alumni resources. For nine years she served as administrative director for the Science, Technology and Research Scholars Program (STARS), the Beckman Science Scholar Program, the Freshman Ethnic Counselor Program and the Amy Rossborough Fellowship. Pamela has extensive background in clinical psychology and therapeutic practice.
Prior to coming to Yale, she worked in the Office of Academic Advising at Saint Mary’s College of California, directed the Adolescent Family Life Program for Pregnant and Parenting Teens in Alameda and Contra Costa Counties, served as a social psychology researcher at the Institute for the Advanced Study of Black Family Life and Culture and was adjunct faculty in the College of Ethnic Studies at San Francisco State University. In 2004, she was awarded the Richard H. Brodhead Award for Excellence in Academic Advising at Yale.