UCSF Celebrates Second Annual All-School Alumni Weekend


Approximately 2,000 alumni from the Schools of Dentistry, Medicine, Nursing and Pharmacy, as well as other programs, converged at the Palace Hotel and throughout the UCSF campus for the second annual All-School UCSF Alumni Weekend from April 25 to 27.

The festivities began on Friday, April 25, with The Last Lecture, delivered by Professor Dan Lowenstein of the Department of Neurology. This annual lecture series, started in 2012, asks a professor nominated by the student body to reflect upon the prompt, “If you had but one lecture to give, what would you say?”

Lowenstein advocated for “great compassion and great concentration” in his lecture, and illustrated the principle of justice by recounting a story about the “Basement People” (janitors, nursing aides and cafeteria workers) at UCSF, who were some of the first advocates for civil rights on campus.

Many of the original Basement People were in attendance at the lecture and were acknowledged during the talk. The lecture was attended by over 600 people and was simulcast online and around the UCSF campus.

“Dr. Lowenstein did a phenomenal job addressing our audience, which consisted of students, faculty members, patients, alumni and the larger UCSF community,” said medical student Neha Joshi, founder of the Last Lecture series.

“His ability to captivate and engage the audience with carefully selected poignant stories was remarkable. Dr. Lowenstein’s lecture had the audience laughing in some moments, in tears in others, and left with great reflection on his life lessons.”

The Last Lecture was followed by the inaugural Zero Year Reunion, a student-alumni mixer honoring the UCSF Class of 2013, in the Millberry Union Gymnasium.

The School of Medicine Class of 2013 elected to volunteer throughout Alumni Weekend as part of their class gift to the university.

Musical entertainment for alumni included a live performance by percussionist Pete Escovedo and his Latin Jazz troupe at the All-Alumni Kickoff Reception on April 26. Following the reception, alumni were invited to hear Christoph Eschenbach conduct the San Francisco Symphony at Davies Hall.

Chancellor Susan Desmond-Hellman hosted a breakfast on Saturday, April 27, where she provided alumni with updates on the state of the school and recognized distinguished alumni across all disciplines. Alumni were also treated to campus tours of the Mission Bay and Parnassus campuses.

Service opportunities included donation of unused medical supplies through the REMEDY (Recovering Medical Equipment for the Developing world) program, training of GLIDE Health Services clinicians, and advising undergraduate students interested in pursuing careers in health sciences.

Each school scheduled several lectures, panels and continuing education events. One such event included Discovery Talks, where UCSF innovators, including Mark Anderson, Jeff Bluestone and Victoria Hale, discussed their transformative research and new discoveries.

Alumni weekend culminated with school and reunion year galas at the Palace Hotel, where alumni were able to reconnect with fellow classmates, faculty and students.           

“I’ve enjoyed seeing old friends and classmates this weekend,” said Phil Sapunor, an alumnus from the School of Medicine Class of 1958. “I ran into one of my original anatomy lab partners today, and we both agreed that the current anatomy labs are much cleaner than they were back when we were in medical school.”