“We are estimating that $75,000 was raised for student scholarships through the All Gaucho Reunion and its associated events,” Alumni Association Associate Director John Lofthus said.
The donations came from various events, individuals and groups. The Class of 1963 pledged $50,000 for the creation of a new scholarship fund. About $10,000 came from the Taste of UCSB Silent Auction, $8,000 from the Gaucho Gallop and $3,000 from the Alice Waters reception, which will go to benefit the Alumni Scholarship Fund. There were also donations from alumni to the UC Santa Barbara Associated Students Food Bank.
The event grew by about 1,000 people between 2012 and 2013, according to Alumni Association Associate Director John Lofthus. This year’s All Gaucho Reunion had record-breaking attendance at the events, proof that the Gaucho reunion is growing. The most popular events were the Alice Waters lecture and Taste of UCSB, both of which sold out with nearly 900 attendees at each event.
“As the event has grown, it has quickly transformed from an Alumni Association event to an all-encompassing campus event,” Lofthus said. “A variety of campus departments are now involved in the festivities.”
In addition to becoming a campuswide event, alumni input into the reunion has also increased. This year, more than 100 alumni served on seven committees that began work in summer or early fall. The event has grown to include graduating seniors with Senior Breakfast tradition at Mosher Alumni House. The goal is to instill a sense of tradition among current students and to speak with them about their responsibilities as future alumni.
“When we launched the Gaucho Reunion in 2007, we knew that it would be at least a 10-year effort to build it to the level that our Board of Directors envisioned,” Lofthus said. “This year’s event provided evidence that we have turned the corner and are now well on our way toward reaching our 10-year goal of engaging 10,000 alumni and friends per year.”
UC Santa Barbara hosts the All Gaucho Reunion to bring alumni back to the place that made them who they are today and inspire them to give back to their alma mater, like numerous generous Gauchos already have. Evidence of the alumni’s generosity is visible in the welcoming Henley Gate, Mosher Alumni House, and alumni volunteers who advocate on behalf of the university or even offer financial gifts.
“We are forever grateful for these acts of kindness, but many alumni have yet to give back to their alma mater. The first step is to bring these, and all, alumni back to the campus,” Lofthus said.