Volunteer Profile: Nikolai Wolfe (TANDON ’09, ’11), 2022 NYUAA Board President
August 15, 2022
As NYU begins a new academic year, NYU alum and former NYU Alumni Association (NYUAA) Vice President Nikolai Wolfe (TANDON ’09, ’11) takes the helm as president of the NYUAA—the umbrella organization for all 600,000-plus NYU alumni. Nikolai takes the reins from Dasha Rettew (GAL ’14), who served the organization as president from 2020–2022.
Nikolai has served on the NYUAA board since 2015. He earned a bachelor of science in civil engineering and psychology and a master of science in civil engineering, systems engineering, and management from NYU’s Tandon School of Engineering. In 2019, Nikolai completed a juris doctor degree at Brooklyn Law School.
Outside of NYU, Nikolai is an accomplished attorney and civil engineer. Nikolai is currently the Staff Attorney at Con Edison, where he has worked in various leadership roles of increasing responsibility since 2011. Nikolai has a rare ability to combine leadership, strategic planning, management, budgeting, and communications skills to solve challenging projects and business mandates. Throughout his career in various roles, Nikolai has built customer-focused teams that add measurable value to strategic business goals, and his work has fostered the development of inclusive and collaborative team cultures.
In addition to volunteering his time with NYU, Nikolai serves other venerable organizations such as the New York City Bar Association, working on their National Moot Court Competition Committee. Nikolai has received numerous awards in his educational, professional, and philanthropic endeavors, and he continues to make serving the community a priority.
Read on to learn more about your new NYU Alumni Association President, Nikolai Wolfe:
Nikolai with NYU President Andrew Hamilton
At the Alumni Awards
How does it feel to be the new President of the NYU Alumni Association, representing more than 600,000 alumni worldwide?
I am privileged to represent the interests of this global community. Leading an organization of this scale and significance is an awesome responsibility, but I am prepared for this role and eager to take our NYUAA to the next level! I feel optimistic that we can and will engage our alumni in more relevant ways and add greater value to their connections with the University. It will be an electric presidency, and I look forward to the NYUAA setting a new standard for alumni benefits, services, and programs!
What are you most excited about as you begin your term as president of the NYUAA?
Where do I even begin? As summer wanes and autumn approaches, I think I am most excited about being back on campus and attending in-person alumni events—like Alumni and Parents Weekend in October. Prior to the pandemic, we often took the ability to gather for granted. While technology enables us to communicate and gather virtually, there is something magical that only comes from being together in-person.
Why do you stay involved with NYU?
At this point, NYU is part of my identity, and staying involved feels as natural as breathing. I have spent the entirety of my adult life either attending or in service to this University. The people I have met, the experiences we have shared, and the positive impact those have had on my development necessitate me to give back in every way I can.
Why would you encourage other alumni to get involved?
One word: momentum. The more alumni support the NYUAA’s work, the greater and better options we are empowered to offer. Alumni can access world-class experiences and exclusive benefits, most often for just a nominal cost. That value proposition is hard to find anywhere else. Beyond that, we have a great time together! If NYU hosts an alumni event, trust that it’s the hottest ticket in town. A recent example is NYU Alumni Night at MoMa, which saw a record crowd of over 1,400 attendees enjoying themselves with music, refreshments, and priceless art.
How will your experiences outside of NYU enrich your presidency?
My personal and professional experiences inform me that high-performing teams must, among other things, embrace diversity and inclusion. As president of the NYUAA, I am committed to fostering a culture that encourages volunteers and alumni to be their best and most authentic selves. This is an approach that will not only enrich my presidency but the entire alumni community.
As we navigate this new hybrid world, how do you plan to collaborate and communicate with the global community of NYU alumni?
Creating pathways for sustainable alumni engagement is among my top imperatives. Our alumni span many generations, and we must be sensitive to the communication preferences of each demographic. We have the benefit of social media and other innovative channels to share content, solicit feedback, and bridge existing disconnects. We will explore more imaginative ways to leverage those technologies.
What is something your fellow alumni would be surprised to know about you?
I really enjoy landscape design and spend many of my summer nights building or reimagining spaces on my land. It’s physical work, but I appreciate the journey of these transformations and being outdoors with my hands in the soil.
So that our global community can get to know you a bit better, we have a quick lightning round for you:
- Do you have a go-to weekday meal? Steak (medium rare) and eggs (over-hard), with fresh tomatoes, chimichurri, and french fries. Brunch of champions!
- Describe your style in one word. Ever-evolving
- Can you share a favorite day off activity in NYC? Bicycling in Central Park
- Who is your favorite character from literature? Atticus Finch
- What is a bucket list item you have? Learning how to sail
- What is your dream vacation? An expedition to Antarctica
- What is your favorite season? Autumn
- What is your preferred social media platform? Instagram
- What is a song you would want to enter a room to? “Happy” by Pharrell Williams
- What is your favorite place on NYU’s campus? The Colloquium Room on the top floor of the Global Center for Academic and Spiritual Life