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Celebrating the Graduating Class of Alumni Scholars

61 graduating Alumni Scholars reflect on the mid-pandemic occasion with optimism and hope.

May 25, 2020

On May 9, 2020, the Cal Alumni Association’s Alumni Scholars Program Class of 2020 gathered virtually for a senior brunch to support one another and celebrate a remarkable milestone: graduation from UC Berkeley. During the online celebration, The Achievement Award Program (TAAP) Scholars and TAAP Diversity Scholars were welcomed to the Cal alumni community as they reflected on their years at Berkeley with fulfillment and pride. This year, 61 TAAP and TAAP Diversity Scholars graduated, and more than 65 Cal community members, including families, alumni, and Cal Alumni Association (CAA) donors and board members, joined them in celebration.

Keynote speaker Minh Dang ’06 and CAA donor Art Wong ’63 gave heartfelt advice the graduates could carry with them to life beyond Cal. Dang assured them, “When you are in the darkest of times, you will do everything in your power to remember that light exists. There is light somewhere.”

“Shoot for the sky, shoot for the moon; go for big things. Try to change society.” —Art Wong ’63

Art encouraged the new graduates to be ambitious and committed to making a mark: “Don’t shoot too low; the problem is you might hit it. Shoot for the sky, shoot for the moon; go for big things. Try to change society. If you do that, you would be surprised by where you could go and what you could do.”

Graduating Alumni Scholar Anthony Omole ’20 addressed the impact of CAA’s Alumni Scholars Program on his life: “I transitioned from surviving to thriving, and I began to see myself turn into the person that I needed, and it was beautiful.”

Fellow graduate Frida Hernandez ’20 also shared that the program helped her surmount obstacles and grow as an individual: “It was because of this program that I learned that my struggles do not define me, but are the building blocks that have allowed me to become the person that I am today.”

Each graduate receives a CAA Life Membership, a CAA license plate frame, as well as a $100 Visa gift card. Additionally, this summer, graduating Alumni Scholars will have access to emergency grants, one-on-one advising, and opportunities to participate in programming that aims to help them with the job search.

In the words of Dang, “To the CAA Alumni Scholars Class of 2020, let there be light!”

Hear from our senior Alumni Scholars through this video.

Image courtesy of Frida Hernandez.