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  • Alexandra Morales

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  • Alexandra Morales

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The Triton Family Celebrates

Almost 2,500 alumni return to campus to reconnect and celebrate

Photos by Erik Jepsen/UC San Diego Publications

They came. They saw. They celebrated. Almost 2,500 alumni returned to UC San Diego for UCSD Alumni’s annual Alumni Weekend, held May 31 through June 3. Attendees enjoyed reconnecting with friends, former classmates and faculty, while revisiting the campus and recalling many UC San Diego memories. Both a kickoff to the start of summer and a time to celebrate all things UC San Diego, the annual weekend brought together many sections of the Triton family.

UCSD Alumni represents more than 140,000 alumni at the forefront of the sciences, business, research, the arts, social innovation and political service. UC San Diego alumni live across the globe, including 71 percent in California; 19 percent in the U.S. (non-Calif.); with 10 percent living abroad. And this is the weekend when many of them returned home to celebrate all things Triton.

And celebrate they did. From a Staff Alumni Swirl and a Career Boost Camp, to a number of exciting class and college reunions and Family Night at the Birch Aquarium, all guests had the opportunity to unleash their inner Triton. The much-buzzed program began Thursday night with A Taste of UCSD, a brand-new event. Alumni and friends listened to five internationally recognized UC San Diego faculty members discuss their groundbreaking research and latest projects. Afterward, they enjoyed culinary delights and tasty libations from alumni vendors. Participants included Jack Copeland, surgery; Nathan Gianneschi, chemistry and biochemistry; Gordon Hanson, economics and IRPS; David Kriegman, computer science and engineering; and Susan Narucki, music.

Stingrays and starfish galore! On Friday, almost 500 alumni, families and friends explored Birch Aquarium after-hours for a kelp tank diver show, music by an electric steel drum band, educational activities and stunning views of the Pacific Ocean.

On Saturday, UCSD Alumni hosted a Summer Beach Party and Surfing Invitational at Black’s Beach, complete with beach-friendly games and a delicious picnic lunch. The June gloom cast no gloom on the party atmosphere.  Nearly 150 alumni and families watched surfers compete to win the prestigious Paul Saltman Trophy, named in honor of the legendary UC San Diego professor and member of the local surfing community.

The team “Get Your Rig Out,” including Zach Plopper ’04, Dan Hodul ’04, Aaron Napier ’03 and Matt MacCauley ’05, won. A posse of faculty surfers also tackled big waves, with a team featuring professors of political science: Thad Kousser, Simeon Nichter and Zoli Hajnal alongside professor of economics Gordon Hanson.

Career Boost Camp made its debut Saturday and was a hit amongst alumni and professionals alike with more than 150 attendees (70% were alumni and 30% community members). The half-day program, featuring executives and recent grads, was a big hit with attendees, providing insights and useful professional career advice.

Later that evening, more than 400 alumni and friends gathered in the Price Center East Ballroom for the Alumni Celebration recognizing five distinguished members of the Triton Family. With six screens around the room and a central stage, alumni were entertained by the Tritones, Matt McNelly (MFA student) and a video celebrating the honorees. A complete list of honorees is available at

On Sunday, alumni volunteers from across the country attended an al fresco brunch under the Stuart Collection’s Bear to acknowledge and recognize these spirited Tritons for the countless hours they contribute to their local clubs on behalf of UC San Diego.

“Our 4th Annual Alumni Weekend was a sensational reminder that our Triton Family is strong, enthusiastic, and cherishes UC San Diego,” said Armin Afsahi, ’90, assistant vice chancellor of Alumni Relations and Development. “Almost 2,500 participants enjoyed conversations of consequence, intellectual insights and celebratory moments across over 25 programs and events. We deeply appreciate our partners across campus who were instrumental in UC San Diego’s efforts to develop and deliver this special Weekend.”

UCSD Alumni is already planning for next year’s Alumni Weekend with four days of exclusive events for alumni, family and friends.

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