As Executive Director of Berkeley’s Cal Alumni Association, one of the most rewarding aspects of my job has nothing to do with alumni at all. “Blasphemy,” you say? Not at all! That most rewarding aspect has everything to do with the future of our University and the future of our alumni community—it’s current Cal students.
Many of you have heard me say that I am most proud of the fact that CAA supports 765 brilliant undergraduates annually with important scholarship dollars, services, and community support. Did you realize that CAA is the largest provider of non-academic, merit-based scholarships at Berkeley? Indeed CAA’s Leadership Award, The Achievement Award Program (TAAP), and The Equity Scholarship, are three of the most meaningful scholarships on the Berkeley campus. Beyond their GPAs and impressive résumés, these students possess the greatest qualities of all—compassion, leadership, and commitment to making the world a better place. If you’re considering ways to give back to Cal, I would highly encourage you to support one of these scholarships fiscally and as a volunteer.
Fortunately, my engagement with Cal students extends well beyond our three scholarship programs. I’ve had the pleasure of getting to know many student leaders through CAA’s Cal Alumni Student Association (CASA) program. There I’ve met the savvy producers of TED X Berkeley, the community activists behind the Berkeley Project (a day of volunteerism in Alameda County), the publishers of Insight @ Berkeley magazine, dynamic ASUC leaders, brilliant student athletes, and polished leaders of Cal’s Greek system. I’ve also come to know the young men and women of Cal Spirit, energetic and dedicated Californians who keep Cal enthusiasm and traditions alive and strong.
I am grateful to be surrounded by such inspiring young people every day. I am pretty certain I will witness these Cal students becoming a CAA Board president, a mayor, a governor, a Supreme Court Justice, and probably President of the United States. The sky is the limit with these brilliant Berkeley students!
This summer we welcome the Class of 2014 to the Cal alumni family. Many of these exemplary young people will soon be joining your alumni clubs, volunteering for your scholarship districts, serving as Cal Advocates, and interviewing with you to launch their careers. Join me in welcoming and supporting all members of the Class of 2014 as they enter this exciting new phase in their lives. And join me in supporting all Cal students. After all, they are the future.
To the Class of 2014, and to all of you, I say: Be Blue. Be Gold. Be Berkeley. For Life.
Fiat Lux and Go Bears!
Jefferson C.M. Coombs,
Executive Director Cal Alumni Association
Posted on June 17, 2014 - 1:29pm