Alumni Weekend 2015: One for the record books

Chancellor Blumenthal and Cowell College Provost Faye Crosby enjoy Alumni Weekend.

Cowell College Provost Faye Crosby and I got a kick out of the banana slug balloon sculpture created by UCSC alum Addi Somekh. Photo by Margaret McGuire.

This year's Alumni Weekend was billed as the "biggest and best," and the celebration certainly lived up to my expectations. Dozens of events over four days attracted 2,500 guests to campus, including more than 1,000 alumni from across the decades.

Teach-ins, performances, social gatherings, tours, talks, dedications, and great food and drink added up to an outstanding weekend. All weekend, I watched alumni reconnecting with each other, with the campus, and with their experiences here.

Highlights for me included the all-alumni lunch on Saturday, the rededication of Merrill College, which attracted a number of original faculty, as well as alum Taiko drum player Kenny Endo who came all the way from Hawaii, and the Dizikes Concert featuring tunes from 1965 on Sunday--though I suspect Cowell Provost Faye Crosby regrets inviting me to dance!

It was a genuine honor to present the Alumni Achievement Award to M. Sanjayan (Biology, Ph.D, '97). A warm and engaging speaker, he gave a great talk about conservation to a full house in the Media Theater. He kept the audience spellbound with clips of the new PBS series he hosted, Earth: A New Wild. If you haven't watched it, I highly recommend it.

I was also delighted to participate in the presentation of the Social Sciences Division's Distinguished Alumni Award to Steve Bruce (Economics, B.A., '79). Steve is a Santa Cruz local who has been a generous supporter of the Social Sciences for many years.

Congratulations to all who worked so hard and long to organize and pull off the success! Check out a selection of "photographer favorite" photos from the weekend, as well as the ever-popular Alumni Weekend Photo Booth.

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