At Cal we are no strangers to being catalysts for change. I have learned that Cal is where the heart is. During my first seven months at the Cal Alumni Association (CAA), I’ve traveled to meet many of our alumni communities and witness the ways in which they are embodying Cal spirit across the nation. My firsthand experiences with our alumni base inform our efforts as we move forward at CAA.
In May, I joined Southern California alumni for the first CALIFORNIA Live! event of 2016, a timely discussion on “Celebrity Politics in the Digital Age”. Traveling east, I met with alumni in Raleigh, Durham, and Chapel Hill—motivated representatives of Cal in The Triangle. I shared the excitement of the Cal Alumni Club of Washington, D.C. at a Summer Welcome Party, where the Club hosted members of the incoming class of 2020, and met in a packed room with the Cal Alumni Club of New York during an incredible summer happy hour. Back home at our spectacular Lair of the Golden Bear, I joined campers for a special campfire talk with Janet Napolitano, president of the University of California, who spoke in a stimulating Q&A on everything from the importance of Cal to the dimensions of the UC state budget. She even enjoyed a camp classic—disco bingo!
This alumni engagement campaign culminated the weekend of August 6-7, when we welcomed 56 alumni leaders from around the United States at Alumni House for our annual Alumni Chapter Leadership Conference. These leaders reflect the vast breadth of our alumni community, from pioneers like Bob Sayles ’52 to recent graduates like Dennis Yee ’14. Topics of discussion were diverse, ranging from campus construction updates with Christine Shaff, communications director, UC Berkeley Real Estate, to alien life forms with Professor Dan Werthimer, chief scientist at the Berkeley SETI Research Center.We concluded the first day together with some of our campus partners—Athletics, the Career Center, College of Letters & Science, Hearst Museum of Anthropology, New Student Services, Office of Undergraduate Admissions, UC Berkeley Extension, and University Development and Alumni Relations—and closed our weekend with a call to advocacy led by Chris Treadway, assistant chancellor, Government and Community Relations.
It is the active passion of these Cal alumni leaders that has informed the development of our new Alumni Engagement Expansion initiative, a three-year strategic plan developed to increase engagement across the entire alumni community. Our goal is to support our alumni through career services, raise the next generation of leaders, host dynamic events, and be a strong, unwavering voice for Cal.
There is work to be done, and our alumni have important roles to play. I invite you to join us in raising our voices in support of Cal and our alumni legacy.
Clothilde Hewlett ’76, J.D. ’79
CAA Executive Director