Shaping how future alumni will regard UC Santa Cruz

To: The Campus Community

From: Chancellor George Blumenthal

One of the best things about Alumni Weekend is hearing the stories our graduates tell about their days on campus.

During his introduction of legendary social psychologist Elliot Aronson to an overflow crowd, Jim Temple (Ph.D. psychology, '85) reflected on the lifelong inspiration he received from his graduate adviser. Elliot, he said, lived his philosophy of tireless self-improvement, and embodied the integration of "being and becoming."

John Laird (B.A. politics, Stevenson, '72) described the time he was headed to the 1972 Democratic National Convention in Miami as a delegate for candidate George McGovern, and Chancellor Dean McHenry gently took him aside to ask if he had enough money to make the trip.

Drummond Pike (B.A. politics, Stevenson, 1970), this year's recipient of the Social Sciences Distinguished Alumni Award, told the story of being chastened by an encounter with McHenry while riding his motorcycle on a pedestrian bridge. (To Drummond's credit, he said he took the experience to heart and didn't do it again.)

Those anecdotes, each shared with deep affection, speak to the caring community of UC Santa Cruz, and to the lasting impact of the student experience. They are good reminders for faculty, staff, and administrators that what we're doing today has impacts well beyond the four or five years our students are with us. Meaningful experiences take place both inside and outside the classroom, and they shape how alumni think of UC Santa Cruz for decades to come.

Recent graduates Pavit Singh (B.S., electrical engineering, College Eight, 2012) and Anastassia Tolpygo (B.S., applied physics, Kresge, 2010) reminisced about meeting during an introductory electrical engineering class, and chatted with senior staff about our international engagement efforts. By the end of the day, Pavit was ready to sign up with the Career Advice Network, saying an internship jumpstarted his own career and he'd be happy to network with current students.

Professor Emeritus of American Studies John Dizikes wrapped up a Friday night panel discussion about teaching and learning by sharing his motto, "Good students make good teachers," which I think is a fitting tribute to Banana Slugs—and their professors.

Walking around campus, I'm grateful for all the alumni whose support has made so many projects possible, including the renovation of the Hay Barn, securing the future of the Cowell Press, and inspiring the restoration of the Quarry Amphitheater. Some of today's students aren't waiting until they graduate to help the campus: Students in Cowell Provost Faye Crosby's philanthropy class hosted a fundraising dinner Saturday night that raised more than $30,000 for the Quarry project.

As I strolled through the poster displays during the Graduate Research Symposium at McHenry Library on Friday, hearing dozens of students eagerly explaining their work, I wondered what stories they'll tell in a few years when they come back to campus for Alumni Weekend.