@UCSD: An Alumni Publication

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Up Front May 2007: Volume 4, Number 2

I wonder if we have somehow eroded the very heart of the beautiful word, gratitude, derived from the Medieval Latin root Gratitudo, meaning thankful or pleasing. In our business of alumni engagement and University advancement, we hold ourselves to a high standard in thanking our supporters. We are diligent in expressing how their service, leadership and philanthropy impact the life and success of UC San Diego. Specifically, for our alumni, we understand this as fundamental to our mission of creating a meaningful relationship based on shared values and experiences. But recently I have been questioning myself about our practices. Let me explain by telling you a quick story.

The Alumni Celebration this June brought together over 600 alumni and friends with 50 alumni leaders—visionaries who have influenced our world in profound ways. Alumni who saw a great future a long time ago. Individuals ranging from Taner Halicioglu '96, an architect of Facebook, to Carolyn Chase '78, founder of Earth Day, to Bob Akins and Rick Sandstrom (pictured above) who built Cymer, Inc., into what Forbes magazine calls the most innovative company in America, practically at UCSD. It was the pinnacle event of UC San Diego's 50th Anniversary. And in preparation for this grand finale, we created our second commemorative 50th Anniversary publication, 50 Years | 50 Leaders: Portraits of Alumni Leadership.

This book features 50 alumni leaders whose life's work has had an indelible impact on our lives. What fascinated me was what we learned about these remarkable alumni and their life's journey: How they serve their communities, dedicate their lives to civic associations, support global causes through their philanthropy and lead other nonprofits as volunteers. As I read their stories, I was inspired by how these global citizens commit to ordinary actions and make extraordinary contributions to our world. And that their contributions are not always manifested through UC San Diego; rather they serve hundreds of other organizations and causes.

I felt thankful and pleased that I was part of their community, and felt privileged to call them fellow alumni. I, along with many others, took this occasion to say thank you to them, and to all the other alumni they represent, for committing themselves unselfishly to causes much greater than themselves.

And so here is my expression of gratitude: If you give your time, talent or treasure to a cause—whether through UC San Diego or not—we say thank you. UCSD Alumni aspires to be an organization that nurtures and recognizes the very nature of giving and in that spirit, we extend our most heartfelt gratitude to all of our alumni, parents and friends whose selfless acts of service, advocacy and philanthropy shape our lives and transform our communities.

Please keep doing good, share with us your personal stories, inspire others to follow and know that we will always feel a deep gratitude for being a part of such a noble community.

With kind regards,
Armin Afsahi, '90, Executive Director, UCSD Alumni

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A c c o l a d e s

Excuse this brief interruption while we take a moment to congratulate ourselves. The UCSD Alumni Association was recognized in three different categories by the Council for the Advance­ment and Support of Education (CASE) at the CASE District VII conference in San Francisco, in November.

The Association won three Awards of Excellence for its creative use of technology, new programs and general interest magazine. It received a gold medal award for its innovative “AlumnIdea” crowdsourcing microsite that allows alumni to give interactive feedback; a gold medal award for the “Discovery Ambassador Initiative,” a program that reconnects alumni with the University; and a silver medal award for the magazine, which we hope you are happily perusing.