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Director’s Chair

Year-End Reflections from the Executive Director

As 2023 draws to a close, I reflect upon our path to pivot into the post-pandemic era.

November 27, 2023
Astrophysicist and Cal professor Alex Filippenko snaps a photo with Executive Director Susie Cohen Crumpler at a recent California Live! event. Astrophysicist and Cal professor Alex Filippenko snaps a photo with Executive Director Susie Cohen Crumpler at a recent California Live! event. / CJ Poloka / Cal Alumni Association

Cal students completed their first full academic year of on-campus instruction after two pandemic years. While the challenges have been acute, the silver linings continue to outshine. Virtual events have opened the door for alumni worldwide to participate, many for the first time.

We took the opportunity to re-align our mission and vision with the emerging needs of our alumni community. Importantly, the principles of diversity, equity, inclusion, belonging, and justice led us in defining our next set of strategic priorities. The Cal Alumni Association (CAA) benefits most by leaning into our vision in all we do: that all Cal alumni worldwide feel welcomed and are actively engaged with the University of California, Berkeley, for life. The energy of CAA’s leadership is essential to advancing this vision. Board of Directors President Kirk Tramble ’93, MBA and Vice President Marsha Roberts ’90, M.D. are alumni volunteers dedicated to seeing CAA’s mission achieved. Please read our Q&A with President Tramble.

We examined CAA’s revenue-generating business models and implemented strategies to help ensure long-term financial sustainability. As we move ahead in a world that is forever altered, we remain open to change while preserving programming that has been core to our mission for decades. Through one strategic growth initiative, camp at the Lair of the Golden Bear is now a year-round offering with new, winterized cabins for guests. In September, we broke ground on the Lair’s new conference center. Scheduled to open in late 2025, the multi-use facility will offer opportunities for the Cal community to gather and celebrate at our beautiful property in Pinecrest, California. 

Another component of our strategic growth includes expanding our collaborations with campus partners to engage our community in unique ways. The Cal Alumni Mentors program kicked off its second academic year connecting Cal students from underserved communities with alumni coaches. We greeted alumni during pregame festivities at Memorial Stadium when Cal faced USC, and our regional Alumni Chapters welcomed Cal fans to games on the road. California magazine rebooted its popular California Live! series in a sold-out evening at the Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive (BAMPFA) with esteemed astrophysicist Alex Filippenko, and I hope you’ll join us on March 28 for an important discussion about artificial intelligence (AI) with computer scientist Stuart Russell.

CAA celebrates both tradition and transformation, embracing creativity as we find our path forward. Change is constant, and with new challenges come many new opportunities.

Fiat Lux and Go Bears!

Susie Cohen Crumpler signature

Susie Cohen Crumpler
Executive Director, Cal Alumni Association

Meet the President: Kirk Tramble ’93, MBA

Introducing Kirk Tramble ’93, MBA, the new president of the Cal Alumni Association board of directors.

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