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UCLA Magazine Summer 2004
Of God and Blue-Footed Boobies
The Providential Scholar
Of the Community, By the Community, For the Community
Good Fellows
The Perfect Storm
The Next Step
Visual Road Trip
Coming Home
Bruin Walk

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Summer 2004
Coming Home
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Ultimately, I realize that I went to the reunion because it was for UCLA, and I felt obliged to give my thanks. I think it's that obligation that makes me feel proud to be a Bruin. I am reminded in so many ways that I am fortunate for what UCLA gave and continues to provide me. So, if UCLA asks me to show up at Pauley Pavilion to say thanks, well, that's the least I can do.

In thinking about this obligation, I did something that I hadn't done since my college days: I opened a dictionary. I looked up the definition of alum. At the basic level, it says that an alum is "a former student of a school, college or university." But it takes its root from the Latin "alere," which means "to nourish." If you check out nourish in the dictionary, you see secondary definitions of "to foster the development of" and "to keep alive; maintain."

So, it seems to me that being an alum means I am the end product of all the growth and nourishment provided to me by UCLA. This, in turn, was only provided because of the growth, nourishment and maintenance provided by the alumni. If I am proud to be a Bruin, it is because I am proud of those who have graduated before me and with me.

In summary, it should be a self-sustaining cycle. The quality of the school will produce quality alumni, who in turn improve the quality of the school, and so forth. Therefore, as young alumni, or soon to be middle-aged ones, it's our turn at the plate. In retrospect, we will, hopefully, realize that UCLA gave us a great gift. What we do with it is our gift back to UCLA, our obligation in this cycle.

Before I started to write this, I looked at my last-ever column for the Daily Bruin. One of the perks of writing for the Bruin was that you got to pen a "good-bye" column for the graduation issue. In it, I noted the importance of "taking all that UCLA has to offer." Even today, I realize that I am still taking UCLA's offers, such as this invitation to attend such a wonderful event and to write again. Unselfishly, I hope this helps repay the favor.

Zachary Aron is a technology-integration manager in Orange County.


2005 The Regents of the University of California