Fall—the season of giving, the excitement of football, and yes, the time for class reunions for Golden Bears. This year, the Cal Alumni Association and UC Berkeley celebrate Cal alumni from a range of class years as part of the annual Class Campaign, an opportunity for alumni to gather, share life’s journey, and give back to the university that means so much to us. Like thousands of their fellow Bears, members of CAA’s Board of Directors are making significant contributions to this important campaign. Gary Slavit ’78, Demetrios Boutris ’83, Amanda Pouchot ’08, and Ryan Waliany ’08 are asking their fellow classmates to give to CAA during their respective reunion years—because Bears give back.
Slavit sees giving to CAA as his priority: “CAA plays an enormous role in keeping alumni engaged and connected to students, so we know why we give our support, and so that students can see their tenure as a lifelong relationship. The generosity of alumni who came before me made my experience at Berkeley possible. I now have the privilege of passing on the legacy with my support.”
Slavit’s colleague Boutris believes “CAA is the axis around which the alumni experience revolves, and CAA serves all 500,000 of our alumni exceptionally well. As an immigrant kid from an inner-city high school, the Cal Alumni Association scholarship and support from Alumni House was transformative. Without CAA, my Cal experience would have not been so successful.”
Amanda Pouchot ’08 and Ryan Waliany ’08, both now successful entrepreneurs, partnered in their outreach to fellow 2008 alumni. “Cal made a tremendous impact on my life,” says Waliany. “And CAA, through its many programs and scholarships, provides a great opportunity to help students in need.”
Pouchot attributes her ability to start her own business directly to The Leadership Award, which she received as an undergraduate. “If it hadn’t been for The Leadership Award from CAA and the affordability of UC Berkeley in the early 2000s, I would have been in debt, unable to take the risk to start my business. Giving back as much as I can and leading our class to also give will make it less of a financial burden for our students.”
More than half a million Cal alumni around the world remember all that Cal gave to them—and continues to give. CAA provides a home for generations of alumni to gather, share wisdom, have fun, and continue to learn and grow. Whether this is a special class reunion year, or you count yourself among the fortunate ones who call yourselves Golden Bears, you can support CAA and be a part of an ongoing, amazing legacy.