UCSB is welcoming its alumni back to campus this weekend for the first annual All Gaucho Reunion, and giving them a packed itinerary that may make them want to re-enroll.
The event designed for UCSB alumni, faculty and current students will be held today through Sunday on the UCSB campus and will feature a myriad of activities ranging from an Alumni Golf Classic and ocean kayaking trip to an Alumni Film Festival and reunion barbecue. Reunion attendees pay a $35 registration fee, which includes a one-year membership in the UCSB Alumni Association, and attendance at Friday’s commencement and Saturday’s barbecue.
Alumni Association Office Manager Mary MacRae said the reunion will attract people of all ages from across the United States.
“We have a gentleman coming from [the class of] 1944,” MacRae said. “He’s 94 years old and he’s driving himself.”
Former Gauchos will maintain a tight schedule with such events as a soccer match between alumni and the current UCSB soccer team, and “classes without quizzes” where professors will give lectures about everything from “Global Warming: Is the End Near?” to the “Geography of Surfing.”
MacRae said current students are also welcome to attend a concert at Storke Plaza on Saturday from 2 to 6 p.m.
Jim Barber is a retired lawyer from the class of ’67 who sits on the board of directors planning the All Gaucho Reunion. Barber said the university needs more outreach programs for the alumni, and that the Alumni Association has been planning the event for three years.
“The idea is to get alumni reconnected with their friends,” Barber said. “It’s an excuse to come back to campus.”
Though some current students may be surprised to hear it, Barber said one of his main involvements on campus was with the UCSB intercollegiate football team.
“We were 17th in the nation back in ’65 for small college football teams,” Barber said. “We used to have a hell of a good football team.”
MacRae said UCSB alumni who graduated prior to 1954 never had the opportunity to attend class on the Goleta campus, and this may be the first time that they will see it. Before it was UCSB, the area’s institution of higher education was Santa Barbara State College, located closer to the city of Santa Barbara and founded in 1909. The campus was officially incorporated into the University of California system in 1944.
According to the All Gaucho Reunion website, the Alumni Association plans to open the Mosher Alumni House next year to accommodate the “more than 135,000 graduates who comprise the Gaucho family.” Currently under construction adjacent to Campbell Hall, the building includes a library, conference rooms and an alumni plaza.
“You’re a Gaucho for life and it really is true,” Barber said.