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  • Erika Johnson

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  • Erika Johnson

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Faculty Club Turns 25

Aerial painting of the Faculty Club

The UC San Diego Faculty Club means many things to many people. A home away from home, comfort food and familiar faces draw regulars for weekday lunch buffets. Community members learn of groundbreaking research in their own backyard. And alumni return to reconnect with their alma mater. As a central meeting place on campus, the club builds a sense of fellowship among faculty and staff, alumni and community members. Permanently established as a campus forum in 1988, the Faculty Club will celebrate its 25th anniversary this year with a special celebration.

The Faculty Club teams up with UC San Diego Alumni Affairs Nov. 15 to host the Silver Supper Club, a milestone event open to the campus community featuring specialty cocktails, signature dishes and dancing to the tunes of Sue Palmer’s Swing Orchestra. The event will mark the conclusion of a yearlong celebration that was marked by several high-profile events. Film director James Cameron stopped by in May for an exclusive reception prior to receiving the Nierenberg Award from Scripps Institution of Oceanography; in July, members had a unique opportunity to dine with Rex Pickett and learn how he transformed his award-winning novel Sideways into a play; and alumni eagerly returned to campus to participate in Oktoberfest—a beer social conducted by some of San Diego’s best brewmasters.

Photos by Erika Johnson/University Communications

“There’s something for everyone at the Faculty Club,” said Darcy Bingham, former UC San Diego staff member and active supporter of campus initiatives. “The club bonds the campus and local community together—collaboration occurs over meals, ideas are shared between colleagues, solutions to problems are discovered.”

More than just a place to dine and chat with colleagues, the Faculty Club serves as a central forum for engaging the campus and local community. Comprised of more than 1,000 members, including faculty, staff, graduate students, alumni and community friends, the club accommodates diverse interests and needs. Prominent experts and leading entrepreneurs speak on a wide variety of topics—from Social Sciences Supper Club lectures to Town & Gown luncheons with local luminaries and UC San Diego Extension workshops. Campus departments and organizations partner with the Faculty Club for award ceremonies, strategic planning discussions and outreach efforts. And community members and their families participate in parties and holiday festivities, such as the popular themed wine dinners, ice cream sundae Wednesdays and other special events such as the annual Members’ Holiday Party.

“The wine dinners are hands down our favorite event. We find it a delightful way to entertain friends, and Chef Ed Koengeter never fails to excel with his menu,” said Ellen MacVean, a community member who, along with her husband, Charles, has been a part of Faculty Club events for more than 13 years. “We always enjoy ourselves and enthusiastically recommend the club to the local community.”

Although the club has origins back to 1968, the current facility was built 25 years ago with the support of Ida and Cecil Green. In 2006, the club expanded greatly with the addition of the Seuss Library, Atkinson Pavilion and a kitchen enlargement as a result of the generosity of Audrey Geisel and Rita and Richard Atkinson. Plans are currently underway to revamp the lounge and bar on the south side, which will serve as an ideal location for parties and receptions. Acknowledging varied schedules and commitments, more diverse programs will draw a larger demographic to attend happy hours, family events and more.

Self-sufficient for more than two decades, the club is funded solely by member dues, service revenues and the generosity of donors. “We are proud to be able to continue to provide a welcoming and engaging venue on campus,” said Tom Mignano, executive director of the Faculty Club. “Our goal is to remain loyal to our dedicated members and ensure that we continue to evolve and grow with the campus.”

The Silver Supper Club celebration will begin with a reception at 6 p.m., followed by dinner and dancing from 7-10 p.m. on Nov. 15. For more information, please go here.

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