From the Nominator
At UC Irvine, the UCI Alumni Association oversees the cap and gown program, which is often reserved for campus bookstores. In a normal academic year, we take advantage of this unique opportunity beyond just being a source of revenue, as cap and gown sales serve as an opportunity for the association to foster a rite of passage as our students transition to alumni.
As news of the pandemic forced students and staff into a remote environment for the remainder of the academic year, the Alumni Association endeavored to find a way to safely celebrate the Class of 2020 in a way that would do justice to this momentous milestone in their lives, and ensure that they did not become the “Lost Class.”
To accomplish this, the Alumni Association transitioned the cap and gown program as part of a larger Senior Success Campaign. In collaboration with Student Affairs, the Commencement Office, the Division of Continuing Education, the Division of Career Pathways, and the Counseling Center, as well as external partners such as Jostens, FedEx, and numerous other marketing companies, the Alumni Association created an overarching campaign consisting of a series of virtual and physical touchpoints that reached more than 7,400 graduating students. Despite the complexities of this new initiative, the Alumni Association was able to nimbly adapt to ever-changing circumstances, and establish one of the university’s largest student engagement programs.