Traphagen Alumni Speakers Series

The Traphagen Alumni Speakers Series supports events in Yale College that bring distinguished alumni to campus and offer direct access for current undergraduates to those alumni. Past Traphagen visits have featured film producer and philanthropist Abigail Disney ’82; software designer and entrepreneur Mitch Kapor ’71; and a special 40th anniversary of coeducation event featuring some of the “First Latinas at Yale”: Judge Amalia Meza ’75 B.A., Dr. Mercedes Lynn de Uriarte ’73 M.A., Dr. Kathryn Ann Williams ’74 B.S., Professor Virgina Rosa Domingez ’73 B.A., and Judge Dora Irrizarry ’76 B.A.


Apply for Funding

Faculty and staff or registered undergraduate organizations may request funding from the Traphagen Funds. Such funding is limited and it is not typically granted for routine, yearly activities. For the 2018-2019 Academic Year, there will be five funding rounds. The deadlines are: 

Round Date

Round 1

September 1, 2019

Round 2 November 1, 2019
Round 3 February 1, 2020
Round 4 March 1, 2020
Round 5 April 15, 2020

Members of the Yale College Dean’s Office, Yale faculty, and student officers of registered undergraduate organizations are invited to apply for funding through the Traphagen Series to support events that they are planning.

Funding is awarded by a committee that reviews applications based on the following criteria:

  • Involvement in event of one or more Yale alumni
  • Clear indication of event’s purpose (i.e. content/focus of alumnus/-a’s speech or other featured activity)
  • Level of Yale community access to the event
  • Projected audience the event will reach
  • Presentation of a clear and reasonable budget (a sample of Traphagen policy and sample budget is available within the Traphagen YaleConnect portal)

For all Traphagen-funded events, all publicity materials prior to and at the event must indicate that the visit is sponsored by the “Traphagen Alumni Speakers Series, Yale College Office of Student Affairs.”

To apply for Traphagen funding, visit the Traphagen Alumni Speakers Series portal by:

  1. Navigating to the YaleConnect University portal
  2. Logging in with your Yale NetID and Password via the “Sign in with Campus ID” option in the top-right
  3. Typing “Traphagen” in the search bar


The Traphagen Alumni Speakers Series was established through a generous gift from Ross E. Traphagen, Jr. ’44, who believed that by bringing alumni from the real world back onto campus, he could expose students to the sundry career paths their education offered and to the successes and failures of seasoned professionals.

Mr. Traphagen graduated from Exeter in 1940, earned his B.A. in history from Yale, and received a J.D. from Harvard Law School in 1948. After practicing law for 13 years at Davis Polk & Wardwell, he joined Goldman, Sachs & Co., serving as a partner for nearly 20 years until he founded his family office, Plough Penny Partners, in 1985. During World War II, Ross was a captain with the U.S. Army Field Artillery, receiving a Bronze Star for heroic action in the European Theater.