As 2016 draws to a close, I am inspired to reflect on the past 12 months, and even further back to the very beginning of our alumni association and the birth of this great university. The alumni association was established in 1872, one year before a group of young men known as “The Twelve Apostles” would become UC Berkeley’s very first graduating class. Then called the University Alumni Association, the original purpose of our association remains true today—to serve as an ever-present source of community for students and alumni, in support of our fine University.
From that first year forward, CAA has upheld the core traditions set by the founders of our alumni association, including engagement, advocacy, and service. One of the original Twelve Apostles, 1873 alum James H. Budd would go on to become Governor of California, signing legislation that doubled the tax base of support for the University, thus saving it from financial devastation. Leading our Young Alumni Association in campaigning for that crucial legislation was Budd’s fellow Apostle, Regent Jacob Reinstein. Today, CAA continues to mobilize alumni in advocating for state support of higher education through the newly established Cal Advocacy program.
Since originating the first Charter Day commemoration in 1873—predecessor to our annual Charter Gala—CAA has provided ways to unite our diverse Cal community around the ideas and milestones emanating from the University. When alumni join the conversation at our CALIFORNIA Live! discussion series; celebrate achievements with the Bowles Hall Alumni Association at the Bowles Hall Grand Re-Opening and with the Black Alumni Club at its Black2Cal reception; welcome new students through our YES Berkeley! Recruitment program; or cheer on our Bears at alumni tailgates and Hoops Parties, they continue that distinctive legacy.
And as originally intended by our founders, CAA remains student-centered, providing avenues of support for students today and paving paths for the future. Through CAA and the Career Center, alumni help current students make connections and gain clarity about their future careers. We foster volunteerism among alumni through application readings for CAA’s Alumni Scholarships, including The Achievement Award Program (TAAP) and the Kruttschnitt Aspire Scholarship Program (KASP), which assist high-achieving students from low-income families and underrepresented backgrounds with the resources necessary to attend and excel at Berkeley. Programs like TAAP and KASP ensure that the best and brightest students will continue to be able to gain an education at the number one public university in the world, and be the next generation of leaders.
As CAA moves into 2017 and looks forward to the 150th anniversary of our University, we are at once anchored by the themes of our University’s great history and ready to increase our investment in the programming necessary to expand the number of engaged Cal alumni. We fiercely champion the great worth of our alma mater and advocate for its perpetuity, and we gather in community to keep the Cal spirit alive, both now and for future generations.
Clothilde Hewlett ’76, J.D. ’79
CAA Executive Director
Posted on December 6, 2016 - 9:00am