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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
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.
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