Alumni Weekend: Get ready for 'likes,' laughs, and memories

Alumni Weekend 2014

Banana Slugs will turn their antennae back to their redwood-forested alma mater from April 25-27 for Alumni Weekend 2014, returning to the special place that provided many alums with their "original social network."

Expect an action-packed weekend filled with countless campus tours and affinity events, learning experiences at the annual Teach-Ins, a delicious lunch and relaxing wine reception, opportunities to catch up and share with friends old and new, and a chance to photobomb the king of all terrestrial mollusks—UCSC's famous mascot, Sammy the Slug.

Expect many intensely nostalgic moments, reconnections, social networking (both traditional and more modern!), photo sharing, and the chance to learn from three great professors in a classroom setting. Click here for a full list of scheduled activities and for registration information.

Among the many highlights:

Launch! A celebration of the UCSC student experience, Friday, April 25, 6-9 p.m., University Center. Featuring interactions with current students, followed by a talk by Leon Panetta, chairman of the Panetta Institute for Public Policy and former Secretary of Defense.

Banana Slug Lunch: Dine and Rewind, Saturday, April 26, 12-2 p.m, Porter Dining Hall. Get a taste of today's contemporary take on dining hall fare, including campus-grown veggies from the UCSC Farm. Artisanal wine and beer will be available. Admission for this event is $20.

Teach-Ins: Go Back to Class, Saturday, April 26, 2:15-3:30 p.m., Porter College Rooms. Remember your student days with a little mind-expansion. Those who attend the Teach-Ins can choose to hear a lecture from one of the following noted faculty members.

- Alison Galloway is known for guiding the campus as the campus provost and executive vice chancellor, but she has an international reputation as a forensic anthropologist—and the Teach-Ins will give her a chance to speak to a general audience of appreciative Slugs about "a day in the life of the dead."

Galloway will provide an academic afternoon filled with stories about the sorts of cases that a forensic anthropologist receives, the process of examination and analysis, and what types of information can be gathered from skeletal remains. In other words, this is a Teach-In about what you don't see on the popular television series Bones. 

- Bruce Thompson, lecturer in history and associate director of the Helen Diller Family Endowment Jewish Studies Program, will give a talk entitled "Spies: Espionage, and Intelligence in the First and Second World Wars," which will explore the stranger-than-fiction stories of the most important double agents of the Second World War: Richard Sorge, who tried, unsuccessfully, to warn Stalin of the imminent Nazi invasion of the Soviet Union; and Juan Pujol Garcia, aka Agent Garbo, for the British, and Agent Arabel for the Germans, the key figure in the elaborate deception campaign that enabled the Allies to surprise the Germans in Normandy.

- Ed Green, assistant professor in biomolecular engineering, will talk about genetics and human evolution. Green has been in the news recently for his surprising insights into human ancestry; he was, among many other things, leader of a team that showed that humans share DNA with Neanderthals.

Among the findings is evidence that shortly after early modern humans migrated out of Africa, some of them interbred with Neanderthals, leaving bits of Neanderthal DNA sequences scattered through the genomes of present-day non-Africans.

"We can now say that, in all probability, there was gene flow from Neanderthals to modern humans," said Green, who was the paper's first author.

Alumni Wine Reception, Saturday, April 26, 3:30-5:30 p.m., Porter Dining Hall Patio. Featuring Bonny Doon Vineyard wines by alumni vintner Randall Grahm, a lovely afternoon of relaxation and stimulating conversation awaits you.

Sunday, April 27,  also offers a broad selection of events, including the much-loved Dizikes Concert, which will be held from 12:30-1:30 p.m. at the Mary Holmes Fireside Lounge (formerly Cowell Fireside Lounge) and will feature Bay Area soprano Eliza O'Malley singing the poems of her grandmother, artist and founding faculty member Mary Holmes.

This year's Alumni Weekend is not to be missed. Last year's version set an attendance record with 1,000 revelers.

Nothing, not even the inconveniences of geography, could keep those Slugs away from all these good times. They came from New York City, Las Vegas, Portland, Houston, Milwaukee, Boston, Bloomington, Chicago, and spots even more far-flung.

One Slug sojourner, Charlene Paquette Moscovici (College Five [now Porter] '73, aesthetic studies), who went on to become a film actress and model, and worked for many years in the advertising industry, traveled from Paris, France.