The 'Year of Alumni'

Vice Chancellor Keith Brant

UC Santa Cruz may be nestled in the redwoods, but the students who study here travel far and wide after graduation, bringing with them the values, experiences, and reputation of our campus.

Our 120,000 alumni live throughout California, the nation, and the world. The largest clusters are in the greater Bay Area and Los Angeles area, along with 22,000 in Santa Cruz County. And they can be found in every field—from science to government to entertainment, frequently adding an element of social justice to their pursuits.

As a way to honor all their achievements and the 50th anniversary of the UC Santa Cruz Alumni Association, the campus is marking 2018 as the "Year of Alumni."

This year-long celebration is intended to honor the accomplishments of UC Santa Cruz alumni and involve them with the campus in new ways and greater numbers.

Look for the new banners featuring 13 prominent alumni along main campus roads and in Quarry Plaza. The choices were difficult. These Slugs represent just a small sample of all alumni who have made a difference.

Tuesday Newsday will regularly feature alumni with stories about what they’ve accomplished and what’s next for them.

And, most importantly, we’ll continue to meet alumni where they live to strengthen their connection to campus. Last year, we hosted more than 100 alumni engagement events—some as far away as New York and Washington, DC. We hope to do even more this coming year.

I hope you all will look for ways to incorporate the “Year of Alumni” into your events and efforts, and remember that today’s students are tomorrow’s alumni. Personal connections—an influential professor or a supportive staff member—often make the most lasting memories. We all play a role in helping build and maintain a passionate and loyal alumni base.

In addition to being living examples of a UC Santa Cruz education, our alumni are vital for many more reasons.

First, they help to inspire student interest in our campus. We recorded record applications—more than 67,000—for fall 2018. Prospective students take note when they learn about the success of our alumni. We are looking to find even more ways to include alumni in our outreach events.

Alumni can also lend key support in lobbying lawmakers and government officials. Their influence can help ensure the excellence and access of UC continues while also advancing causes we stand for, such as supporting our Dreamers.

The daunting question—“What will you do after college?”—often can be answered with the help of our alumni who can connect students with internships and job opportunities.

Finally, philanthropy can have a truly transformative impact on a university, as showcased by our recent Campaign for UC Santa Cruz that raised more than $330 million. Alumni were a crucial part of its success and their continued support is integral in supporting our campus mission.

Everyone can join in this effort by connecting with alumni, finding ways to engage them, and ultimately by making sure they realize they are what makes UC Santa Cruz so special.