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Alumni Making a Difference

Through conversation, the Cal community explores how we can harness values like gratitude, faith, community, and service to move forward.

person in turban on berkeley campus

2020 was a tumultuous year. We experienced uncertainty and stress as the pandemic affected our daily lives. We were reawakened to systemic racial-justice issues while witnessing record-high voter turnout. In 2021, we watched in horror as insurrectionists attacked our nation’s capitol building, and were troubled by the violence against our Asian American and Pacific Islander communities.

Though the COVID-19 vaccine rollout shows a glimmer of hope, we can’t predict when things will return to “normal”—or what the new normal will look like. We need space and tools to process our feelings when we see empty chairs at our family, holiday, and company gatherings.

Alumni and campus leaders help our community reflect and heal in this Alumni Making a Difference series. Alumni and members of the Cal community explore how we can use gratitude, faith, community, and service to move forward, together, drawing meaning from our past and using our experiences to make a difference for our future.

Episode 1: Priorities, Social (Re)Connection, and Mental Health

Special Guests:

Paraag Marathe ’99, president of San Francisco 49ers Enterprises and executive vice president of Football Operations, in a candid conversation with Dacher Keltner, professor of psychology and founder and faculty director of the Greater Good Science Center at UC Berkeley on personal priorities, mental health, and human connection.

Episode 1: Priorities, Social (Re)Connection, and Mental Health

Episode 2: Alumni Supporting Students; Dealing with Racial Injustice

Award-winning broadcast journalist Sherry Hu ’74 and Sandra Bass ’91, ’98, director of the UC Berkeley Public Service Center, discuss healing, recovery, and hope amid the pandemic and racial injustice.

Episode 3: Beyond Mentorship: A Cross-Generational Friendship

Episode 3: Beyond Mentorship: A Cross-Generational Friendship

Thursday, September 23, 2021
7 – 8 p.m. PT | Virtual

A recording is available for on-demand viewing. Registration required.


Featuring Michael Pham ’17 and Robert Sproul ’70, this is the story of two unlikely friends whose lives converged. Their support for one another inspired them to be advocates in their communities, and through their shared passions, Bob and Michael developed a friendship that transcends the familiar. In true Cal spirit, Michael and Robert each celebrate the other’s unique talents and resilience, encouraging viewers to embrace friendship and to continue knocking down perceived barriers.


Special Guests

Michael Pham ’17
Michael Pham ’17 / Courtesy of Michael Pham

Michael Pham ’17
Michael Pham started his Cal journey in integrative biology, receiving his B.A. in 2017. As an undergraduate, Michael received scholarships through both The Achievement Award Program and The Leadership Award from the Cal Alumni Association’s Alumni Scholars Program. Having overcome countless barriers, he is dedicated to removing obstacles for others through health-care initiatives and advocacy. Michael is currently pursuing a master’s degree in business administration with a healthcare management concentration at Johns Hopkins University.

Robert Sproul ’70, M.A.
Robert Sproul ’70, M.A. / Courtesy of Robert Sproul

Robert Sproul ’70, M.A.
The grandson of the first president of the University of California, Robert “Bob” Sproul received his B.A. from Berkeley and his master’s degree in English from San Francisco State. Bob is a member of the Cal Alumni Association Board of Directors and was chairman of the College of Letters and Science board in the late 90’s. After 33 years in the advertising business and serving as executive director of the Fritz Institute, Bob became assistant dean for development and alumni relations at Berkeley Law, where he and his development team raised $131 million for the school. Involved in civic causes throughout his career and private life, Bob was chairman of the East Bay Conservation Corps; a longtime board member of the Save the Redwoods League and Children’s Hospital Oakland; and currently serves as a member of the Friends of the Bancroft Library and the Cal Baseball Foundation.


Anh Tran ’06, M.A.
Anh Tran ’06, M.A.

Anh Tran is the senior director of scholarships administration and development for the Cal Alumni Association (CAA). She received The Leadership Award from the Cal Alumni Association as a Cal undergraduate, and is delighted to give back to the Cal community in her current role. Anh has more than 15 years’ experience in volunteer and program management, education, community building, and leadership development. She graduated from UC Berkeley with a B.A. in economics and mass communications and a minor in education, and received her master’s degree in public administration from USC, where she is currently a doctoral student in organizational change and leadership.

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