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Director’s Chair

Connections to Cal Are Critical for the Alumni Journey

December 21, 2022
Candance Sorensen, Executive Director Crumpler, Chancellor Christ, Razon and Kirk Tramble ’93, and scholar Jayden Zheng At The Achievement Award Program’s fall recognition dinner, (l-r) scholar Candance Sorensen, Executive Director Crumpler, Chancellor Christ, Razon and Kirk Tramble ’93, and scholar Jayden Zheng celebrate the theme of “Purpose.”
Susie Cohen Crumpler

150 years ago, a group of 12 rising seniors gathered in downtown Oakland, deciding to establish the alumni community we now know as the Cal Alumni Association (CAA). This simple, purposeful act ensured that all future students would have a lifetime community at Berkeley. The following year, those 12 students became the first to graduate from the University of California, Berkeley. 

Read the words of current seniors, Anmol Walia and Danny Muñoz, both Alumni Scholars from CAA’s Achievement Award Program, who are continuing our legacy today. Graduates from The Achievement Award Program (TAAP) go on to become engaged alumni, because programs like TAAP are intentional about building community—forming connections among students and between students and alumni—and creating a true sense of belonging at Berkeley. When surveyed, 94% of our 2021–22 Alumni Scholar cohort reported they feel that the Alumni Scholars Program supports them in navigating UC Berkeley, and 82% of them are eager to become engaged alumni and give back to Cal.

Our alumni network is now more than a half million strong, and I would like to recognize a few groups for their contributions to the lifecycle of our student and alumni communities this year. Connection to Cal plays a critical role at every moment of the alumni journey.

Hundreds of alumni volunteers evaluated and interviewed thousands of prospective Alumni Scholars this award season. 34 volunteer-led Alumni Chapters hosted welcome parties for incoming students this summer, giving warm welcomes to the newest in our community.

The Black Alumni Association, in partnership with CAA and UC Berkeley’s African American Student Development (AASD) office, continued its networking series to assist TAAP and African American Initiative Scholars in professional growth as students prepare for fall career fairs. More than 250 alumni volunteered to serve as mentors with the new Cal Alumni Mentors program, focused on increasing one-on-one support for underrepresented and underserved students at Berkeley.

Alumni play a crucial role in maintaining our connections to Cal after graduation. The Chicanx Latinx Alumni Association (CLAA) East Bay and Southern California chapters participated in the CLAA 2022 Latinx Legacy Weekend, honoring Chicanx and Latinx alumni of UC Berkeley. The Chinese Chapter and Berkeley Chinese Alumni International Association (BCAIA) hosted the first in-person China Summit conference in three years, connecting international audiences with the latest discoveries, trends, and cross-border opportunities. 

I express my deep gratitude to each one of you for your dedication to uplifting our students and our graduates, and to building generations of leaders.

Fiat Lux and Go Bears!

Susie Cohen-Crumpler signature

Susie Cohen Crumpler
Executive Director, Cal Alumni Association

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