News

SIPA Alumni Day Returns with Inaugural Awards, Panel on Climate

Posted May 08 2022
Image
SIPA faculty member David Sandalow (left); Distinguished Alumni honoree Sumant Sinha MIA '92
SIPA faculty member David Sandalow (left); Distinguished Alumni honoree Sumant Sinha MIA '92

SIPA’s Alumni Day returned after a two-year hiatus with a live presentation of the School’s inaugural alumni awards and a virtual seminar on climate change. The in-person portion of the program, held at IAB on April 30, also featured conversations with honorees Sumant Sinha MIA ’92 and Nicole Van Der Tuin MPA ’12.

Sinha, the founder, chairman, and CEO of ReNew Power, received the first Distinguished Alumni award, while Van Der Tuin the chief growth officer at Accion Opportunity Fund, was the first recipient of the Emerging Leader Award. (Van Der Tuin is also co-founder and former CEO of First Access, which she conceived while she was a student at SIPA.)

The awards, Alumni Association chair Brent Feigenbaum said, were created in 2021 “to honor alumni for their achievements and extraordinary contributions to improving their communities—locally, nationally, and globally—and for service to SIPA.”

Image
Emerging Leader award winner Nicole Van Der Tuin MPA '12
Emerging Leader award winner Nicole Van Der Tuin MPA '12

Interim Dean Thomas Christensen welcomed alumni to IAB and reviewed some of the highlights of recent months — including new faculty, progress on DEI initiatives, and the pending introduction of a new MPA program in global leadership. He also highlighted faculty expertise on the Russia-Ukraine war and noted how SIPA is gradually resuming pre-COVID practices, including the on-campus graduation ceremonies later this month.

Christensen also saluted the award winners: “You inspire all of us with your work and your commitment to positive change in the world,” he said.

Sinha and Van Der Tuin then took part in informal discussions with SIPA faculty members about their work and impact as entrepreneurs.

About 90 alumni and guests attended the event in person, enjoying a boxed lunch and socializing in addition to the alumni awards.

Earlier in the day, faculty member David Sandalow hosted an online discussion featuring Professor Wolfram Schlenker, alumnae Kerry Constabile MIA ’06 of Google and Andrea Vivero MPA ’10 of Meridio Consulting, and current student Zizhu Zhang MPA ’23, a former environmental journalist. Jennifer Morris MIA ’97, CEO of the Nature Conservancy, welcomed viewers.

Participants in the conversation considered current trends and opportunities in climate change policy and work across different sectors where members of the SIPA community are making an impact. reflect on current trends and opportunities in climate change policy and work across different sectors where members of the SIPA community are making an impact.

“Alumni Day has long been a highlight of our calendar, and I’m just so pleased we were able to welcome alumni back in person,” said Susan Storms, SIPA’s director of alumni affairs. “I especially appreciate the chance to welcome some of our 2020 and 2021 graduates to the SIPA alumni community as well.”

Next year’s Alumni Day is slated for March 25, 2023, when organizers intend to once again host a full day of programming and a reunion dinner on campus.

Panel Discussion: Climate Change Solutions

recorded April 30, 2022