Of God and Blue-Footed Boobies
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Hangin' with sea lions on Española
UCLA launched its travel program in 1941 with a seven-night cruise
to the Mexican Riviera. Since then, some 10,000 Bruins and their
companions have traveled under the UCLA Alumni banner, journeying
to the North Pole aboard a Russian nuclear icebreaker, the South
Pole via small jet and snowmobile — a snapshot shows bundled-up
Bruins holding a UCLA banner at the earth's southernmost point —
and hundreds of destinations in between. While alumni have a growing
appetite for the exotic and far-flung (sign-ups already are under
way for next year's Antarctica adventure), they are also fond of
familiar overseas venues and domestic destinations: The annual exploration
of Santa Fe's culture and arts scene, now in its 18th year, regularly
sells out. All trips have an educational flavor, with about half
including a faculty "host" like Strand to enrich the experience.
From time to time, prominent alumni handle hosting duties. In 1996,
Rafer Johnson '59 joined travelers to Greece. The Olympic gold medalist
gave the group an unforgettable thrill when he carried the torch
to lead a reenactment of ancient Panhellenic games at Nemea Stadium
in southern Greece, barefoot and clad in tunic and laurel wreath.
Juanita Siriani is struggling to remember an adage
about Bruins and Trojans. Her daughter chimes in: "Mom, it's
like this. 'Once a Bruin, always a Bruin. Once a Trojan is enough.'
" There are no Trojans within earshot of this remark, but they
There are a couple of "mixed" marriages aboard the Polaris.
Stanley Kyker '62, retired since 1998 as executive vice president
of the California Restaurant Association, and his wife, Cathy, who
has a USC master's in public administration, are one. Gretchen Greene
'64, M.B.A. '65, and her husband, Jim, who did his undergraduate
work at Stanford but earned his M.B.A. at USC, are another.
The Trojans know they are vastly outnumbered and are good sports
about it. Jim Greene wears a UCLA cap throughout the trip, and Cathy
Kyker gamely joins the Bruin group photo.