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Letter from the President: Fall 2022

I began my service as president of the Cal Alumni Association (CAA) during a period of global change. External factors—global health and economic crises, boiling-point tensions in this nation, and more—loomed over us. In response, alumni rallied to new ways of connecting with, and caring for, one another. As we emerge from what seems an interminable hibernation, I am energized to move forward toward all that lies ahead for Berkeley.

September 19, 2022
Alfonso Salazar
Alfonso Salazar

CAA worked to simplify expenses and expand revenue streams in 2021, resulting in increased memberships and the successful continuation of The Graduate Wine Collective, CAA’s alumni wine program. At the Lair of the Golden Bear, forest fires put an early end to the 2021 summer camp season. I’m happy to report that the 2022 season is back at full capacity, and the Lair’s new year-round cabins are enjoying a steady stream of reservations, with five more cabins set to open in 2022. Demand for travel also returned heartily, and Cal Discoveries Travel enjoyed the highest number of trip bookings since 2000.

On campus, CAA’s Alumni Chapters hosted a first-ever First-Generation Alumni Reunion during Homecoming weekend, and chartered a new chapter, Black Lives After Cal.

In a partnership developed with UC Berkeley’s University Development and Alumni Relations, CAA increased the circulation of its award–winning California magazine. The Edge, the magazine’s podcast for surviving our modern landscape, now nears its 20th episode.

Through the generosity of Cal alumni and friends, CAA’s Alumni Scholars Program deepened its support for UC Berkeley undergraduates. In 2021, The Achievement Award Program provided $38,272 in emergency grants to students in need, and increased its support for transfer students, adding 50 additional transfer recipients of The Leadership Award. A new scholarship launched with the goal of making UC Berkeley more affordable for Native and Indigenous students: The CAA Native American Scholarship recognizes Native American students at Berkeley for their leadership, community involvement, and contributions to the Indigenous community. Efforts continue this fall as CAA launches Cal Alumni Mentors, a volunteer-powered program set to provide a support network for students who are first-generation, low-income, underrepresented, or underserved at Berkeley.

I’ve written previously about my belief in five powerful pillars of leadership: connection, communication, presence, advocacy, and giving back. Our alumni association is acting on each of these values as we develop a new strategic plan that will launch in 2023. This renewed direction comes through collaboration with our campus partners, the Chancellor’s office, and our alumni community—to all these, I express my deepest gratitude.

Go Bears!

Alfonso Salazar Signature

Alfonso R. Salazar ’90
President, Cal Alumni Association

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