UCR Alumni Association Working to Reach Graduates in the U.S. and Abroad

UCRAA is committed to supporting freshmen students with scholarships and alumni with free webinars, networking events and more.

Highlander Day of Service 2016 in London. UCR currently has 105,876 living alumni, adding about 5,000 every year. Courtesy UCRAA

UC Riverside’s Alumni Association (UCRAA) operates with a robust calendar.

The months are pre-filled with meetings, socials, networking events and receptions – in the U.S. and abroad.

This Spring’s Highlander Day of Service, for example, alumni helped clean a river in England, picked up litter in Central Park in New York, volunteered at a women’s shelter in Los Angeles and a local group contributed to the creation of a rose garden on campus. This sole day of community service involved more than 400 participants.

It’s this type of impact that UCRAA is generating. And the momentum is building.

“UC Riverside is going through tremendous growth, it’s changing and it’s transforming lives,” said Jorge Ancona, assistant vice chancellor for Alumni and Constituent Relations and executive director of UCRAA.

The UC Riverside Alumni Association keeps building a strong organization to support alumni here and abroad. One of the many activities they support throughout the year include networking opportunities such as this recent Los Angeles Highlander Welcome event. Courtesy UCRAA

The UC Riverside Alumni Association keeps building a strong organization to support alumni here and abroad. One of the many activities they support throughout the year include networking opportunities such as this recent Los Angeles Highlander Welcome event.
Courtesy UCRAA

With 105,876 living alumni, UCR is adding about 5,000 every year. Close to 50 percent of alumni graduated within the past 12 years, Ancona said. The rapid growth means that the average age for the alumni base continues to get younger.

Recognizing the need to engage and remain relevant to alumni of all ages, UCRAA is leveraging technology to offer alumni services such as online webinars to assist in professional development. Topics range from searching for the first job to planning for retirement. These are free webinars, available to all alumni.

UCRAA is also committed to awarding financial assistance to incoming freshmen. Each year four students receive a one-time $4,000 scholarship; some students might receive additional financial support from other scholarship funds established by alumni or alumni groups associated with UCRAA. UCRAA is currently working to establish a $1.5 million scholarship endowment to financially support incoming freshmen. So far they’ve secured $1 million, Ancona said.

Focusing on students, especially those who are first generation, embracing culture and diversity, are several reasons why alumna Dollie Totaro Wolverton continues to be involved. Wolverton, class of 1957, is a current UCRAA board member and travels from Maryland to Riverside four to five times a year for board meetings.

Dollie Wolverton courtesy

Dollie Wolverton

“I feel like if I’m really going to be part of it, I need to be fully committed,” said Wolverton, who was part of the third graduating class and one of 62 students who graduated that year from UCR.

She started her career as an elementary school teacher in Riverside and quickly escalated through the ranks. She became the director of Head Start for Riverside County, then served as an early childhood specialist in the California Department of Education and ultimately retired in 2006 as the chief of education for the federal Head Start Bureau in Washington, D.C.

Her dedication to serve UCR earned her the 1992 Alumni Public Service Award because giving back to the campus is “all about our commitment, loyalty and belief in the university,” she said.

She wants to continue to grow the scholarship endowment because she understands financial support is a key factor in helping students graduate.

Richard Alvarado shares the same vision. He is the current scholarship chair for the Chicano Latino Alumni (CLA) chapter that was reestablished in 2014 after a 33-year lapse. In the past year they have focused on building their scholarship fund and now have more than $10,000.

The money will be distributed as $1,000 scholarships to four incoming undergraduate students, two continuing students and two graduate students. CLA will also offer $500 book scholarships, said Alvarado, a 1983 alumnus who majored in history and Chicano studies.

After his retirement in 2011 as chief deputy warden at the California Institution for Men in Chino, Alvarado knew he wanted to return to UCR and help the community.

Richard Alvarado courtesy

Richard Alvarado

His career began at the Riverside County Juvenile Hall when he landed an internship through a UCR sociology class.

“UCR introduced me to the career I didn’t know I was going to have,” said Alvarado, who aspires to increase the CLA scholarship fund every year. Through his background as a first-generation Chicano in college and his work in the Department of Corrections, he believes that positive opportunities for youth come with education.

“The only thing that will change the cycle of incarceration, is education and support,” Alvarado said. “So why not return to my alma mater and do this?”

Keep up-to-date with the UCR Alumni Association

Upcoming UCRAA events

  • July 12: San Diego Highlander Welcome, AleSmith Brewing Co. in San Diego
  • July 13: Orange County Highlander Welcome, The Prime Cut Café in Orange County
  • July 23: Bay Area Highlander Welcome, Dolores Park in San Francisco
  • July 30: L.A. Chapter Dodgers game, Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles
  • July 31: 9th Annual Alumni Day at the Races: Del Mar

Save the date

  • Nov. 18: Alumni Awards of Distinction
  • Nov. 19: Homecoming (includes Parent & Family Day and ScotFest, which has a kids zone to make this a family-friendly event)

For more details on the webinars: alumnicareerservices.org/ucr/Home.aspx

UCRAA on social media:

Media Contact

Tel: (951) 827-2653
E-mail: SandraB.Martinez@ucr.edu

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