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As members of the Cal family, our student-athlete alumni continue to support and encourage our current and graduating student-athletes during these unprecedented times as they continue to navigate this changing landscape.

Jason Gant

Men's Basketball // Class of 2006

To the graduating seniors:

You have made it. You have achieved. You are worthy! Welcome to the "real" world. Please bless the world with your achieved gifts. Do not be shy. Flex! Please Flex! Your gifts are needed, required and wanted. Good luck. Be you! Remember the big picture "Headline", be authentic, and manage up - take initiative wherever you can. It takes a Village and the Tribe starts with YOU!! #villageTribe

[IG] @myVillageTribe 

To all returning Cal Student-Athletes:


As a three-sport Cal Bear participating in Cal Men's Track & Field, Basketball and Volleyball, I wish you all the luck in your upcoming season. Thank you for your patience hard work and flexibility in navigating the uncertainty that has led us to this point in time. That said, Go Bears!! You are resilient. You are worthy. You can do it. Say, I can! I will! Watch me!!! Mindfulness is the shift from auto pilot to aware. Mindfulness is the intentional awareness of our breath to focus our mind and bodies to make healthy choices. I have leaned in on the practice of mindfulness when stressed, anxious, overwhelmed and within intensity of competition. During uncertainty and feeling a loss of connection I remember to take a sacred pause. Practice the pause by noticing when one breath ends and the next begins. Begin by stopping, breathing, noticing, reflecting and responding peacefully before proceeding. Use adversity as data and intelligence as fuel to continue on your path and journey to success as CAL student athletes. This moment is a present and life's best present is your presence. Show up Here, Now, in this moment. Remember this is BEAR territory. Stay Great! GO BEARS!


A message to all:


Mindfulness for the inner athlete and student for mind/body alignment lead to stellar performance, leadership and overall wellness.   

Darryl Stallworth

Football // Class of 1987

To the graduating seniors:

Job well done! Your future is bright. Go forward and fulfill all of your dreams. GO BEARS!

To all returning Cal Student-Athletes:


Life is a rollercoaster. Everything you have done in the past has prepared you for the next school year. There will be highs and lows. Stay Steady! Stay Focused! You are a California Golden Bear. The Bear never quits! The Bear never dies! Stay Strong. GO BEARS!!!

Robin Wilcox

Women's Crew // Class of 1982

I wish to join others who have gone before you in Cal athletics to send along our support during this frustrating time. The challenges of all the years of training and preparation to be able to compete in your sport are at this time compounded by the challenge of not being able to do any of that, and the uncertainty of when or how you might be able to in the future. You are having to suspend a central part of your identity as well as daily focus. We can only imagine and offer support. Everyone of course is having one disappointment or another of life during coronavirus - but allow yourself your specific disappointment, talk it out with your friends and family. To feel it fully and share vulnerably is to process it healthfully. Share and then listen; not in a competitive-complaining way but to understand others and to be seen and understood. And then in the meantime, because you are accustomed to physical action, go do something. It will be a giant shift into realms larger than your sport, larger than your school, larger than your original plan. Turn your great and youthful energies to serve others, find a way to connect with and help those in need – those who have lost jobs or homes, are ailing, are lonely or shut-in, are grieving, those who don’t have the resources to study online (e.g. many of the public school children around you). Those you might not in regular life even notice. It may take you in an unexpected long-term direction, but even just for the time being it will be a positive way to contribute and interact, and shift away from a sense of helplessness to purpose. Even with a missed season, you will always be Cal athletes. We look forward to the day you can get back on the field, in the water, in the boat, on the court, on the mat, on the mountain, or wherever you do your thing and we can yell again.


Go Bears!

I'm at left in this photo, JV8/Varsity 4 coxswain, with Nanette Bernadou, the Varsity 8 coxswain at right, at the 1980 US National Championships (we won). We were bumped up to those seats because the original varsity coxswain, Val McClain, was away training with the US Olympic Team. And then that summer the USA boycotted the Olympics, leaving a lot of profoundly disappointed athletes.

RKW NB nationals 1980 - Robin

Marianne Jakus

Women’s Tennis // Class of 1965 & '67

To the graduating seniors:


It must have been difficult finishing your degrees under such unexpected circumstances. It is unlikely you will regret the time and energy and more likely you will be continually rewarded in the years ahead. So, Congratulations!

To all returning Cal Student-Athletes:

A friend told me “we are facing unknowns on every front” so thinking ahead is a bit confusing. But don’t give up your studies. It will be worth it in the long run.

Daniel Solomon

M. Swimming & Diving // Class of 1990

As a Cal student-athlete, you know how to excel despite adversity. Now is no different. Cal Bears innovate and overcome. You are leaders. You will help guide the Bay Area, California, the US and the World toward a better future. You can shape your world and make it better. You need to use your knowledge and perseverance to get what you want how you want. Don't give up on dreams delayed - they are still your dreams to achieve. You can and will do it. Go Bears!

Marilyn Thompson

Women's Tennis // Class of 1968

The life skills you have gained through your experience on your Cal team are invaluable. They are more important than anything you learned in your classes. Those skills will enable you to be successful in any career you may choose to pursue. Congratulations on your graduation from Cal! you know it or not the new modern era lies on your shoulders, continue to lead the World! Go Bears!

Haley Lukas

Women's Soccer // Class of 2018

Being a student-athlete at Cal exposed me to an incredible range of opportunities to excel as an athlete, academic, and grow as a leader. Some of my favorite memories were those spent supporting my fellow student-athletes at their competitions, taking advantage of professional development opportunities, and getting to wear Berkeley Blue and California Gold every day. With the cancelling of training sessions, internships, and other experiences that help to enrich your student-athlete experience, use these unpredictable times to fulfill those opportunities in different ways. Just because our routines may change in the face of uncertainty, doesn’t mean our goals do. Now more than ever is an excellent time for reflection and to shape our priorities to achieve our goals. As student-athletes, those may be athletic, academic, or extracurricular pursuits. See how you can creatively work towards those even if traditional routes aren’t possible. Take advantage of online seminars, informational interviews, and networking when you can’t be in an office for an internship. Volunteer your time to tutor students who may be struggling without in-person classes. Complete a circuit workout at home when you can’t be on a field. Your experiences at Cal have prepared you for many challenges, including the uncertainty in the world right now. Cal student athletes are resilient and this is just another test of that. Staying focused and goal-oriented when we do feel stressed and challenged will help to best prepare you for returning to campus. Near or far, Golden Bears are always there for each other, especially now when we all need it most! Go Bears!

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Brendan Daly

Rugby // Class of 2013

To the graduating seniors:

My heart goes out to the Seniors who had such a valuable experience taken away from them. For many it will be the last time competing on the field but the lessons for success off the field will last a lifetime.

Jim Barker

Wrestling // Class of 1966

To the returning student-athletes:

In high school, I lettered in football, wrestling and track. I was too small to play football at Cal and though I ran some track, I didn’t letter. Wrestling was by weight divisions and I wrestled at Cal in the ‘62-‘63 and the ‘63-‘64 seasons. I lettered in 1964. I got a Bachelor’s and a Master’s degree before going to dental school. My wife, Connie, went back to school (after I graduated from dental school). She got her Bachelor’s degree from Cal and became high school English teacher. Our youngest son, Geoff, got his PhD at Cal and was on the faculty for six years. We are a Cal family. Go Bears!!! – Jim Barker '66

Giorgio Tavecchio

Football // Class of 2012

To the returning student-athletes:

In these unprecedented times, when

daily life is disrupted and sports dreams interrupted, we're forced to realign our perspectives on what really matters. I pray we may continue to grow and remain grateful! We are in this together. GO BEARS!

Beth Beagles

Women’s Water Polo // Class of 2000

To the graduating seniors:

Congratulations graduates!! It TRULY feels like yesterday that I was in your shoes. Back then I had no clue how much my 4-years at Cal would shape the rest of my life. However, as I've gotten further away from those 4-years, I realized they really taught me about life. How to compete, what is bravery, how to be trustworthy, what is loyalty, teamwork, determination ... and so much more. My hope for you is that you learn these quicker than I did and you use them to change the world! Congratulations again! Go Bears! 

To all returning Cal Student-Athletes:


No doubt you are getting a unique college experience, different from any other class before you.  I don't pretend understand your struggles, but I encourage and challenge you to use this time to make yourself a better teammate, a better friend, a better student and a better human. Many years ago I was part of the new generation ready to make my mark. It's now your turn. What will you do with it?

Valerie McClain

Women's Crew // Class of 1992

Congratulations on such a prestigious honor! We have every hope that you will make an enormous difference in our world. Your experience in 2020 gives you a particular advantage that many others will not have. You have learned to adapt to a completely new environment; you have learned to filter through a lot of noise to get to the truth and you have learned to focus on your goals - depending on your strengths and honing your opportunities. All of these skills will propel you to success in a business world, who looks for these skill sets in any candidate.


Celebrate your achievements and embrace the world as a unique opportunity. An opportunity where you will make an impact. It may be a small impact at first, but we know that you will be the generation we are talking about in years to come. The one that was wise and resilient, inventive and determined.


Go Bears!

Matt Fishel

Men's Crew // Class of 1997

My 4 years rowing at Cal we’re clearly the best years of my life. I’m so sorry for all of you spring athletes, especially the seniors! Life goes on. You all will absolutely make the most of it. You’re a Cal Bear!❤️.

Jim Phillips

Football // Class of 1965

My name is Jim Phillips. I was captain of the football team in 1965. I was recruited out of Iowa as a freshman by Marv Levy. I was an All State QB and Linebacker (we played both ways at that time). Coach Levy said they were primarily recruiting me for my defensive skills, but I would be given a shot at QB. In our freshman year ('61) freshman were not eligible for the varsity. The first day of practice, I thought I threw the ball well, but realized the competition was pretty good, too. The second day of practice I could not find my name listed under the QB's and finally found myself listed as 4th team fullback. I didn't feel too good about that, but decided I best go out and compete since I was 2000 miles from home.

I worked my way up to 2nd team and played quite a bit, mostly on defense.

In Spring practice in '62, I started out as 3rd team FB and had worked my way up to second team. With about 10 days to go, I had two pretty good concussions and they had me sit out the remainder of Spring training. When I returned in the Fall I found out I was moved to guard because they changed to where both guards became LB's rather than FB and Center. Again, I was on the fourth team. Coach Levy called me in to say they were going to redshirt me. So for the next 4 weeks I was on the practice squad; but the next week I was moved up to third team guard and played that week quite a bit. The next week I was moved up to second team guard. That year I was voted the most improved lineman (pretty easy to win if you've never played there before). That Spring I finished at first team guard.

When I came back in the Fall, they had switched back to the FB and Center playing LBer. Well, I was listed as the second team Center weighing 185lbs. I was able to work my way up to first team by the beginning of the season. Actually, I won the award for playing the most minutes of anyone in the '63 season.

In 1964 the rules changed and we had free substitution and I started out as first time middle LB. Now weighing a mighty 205lbs. Unfortunately I tore my knees during double days and had to sit out the 1964 season. I was elected captain by my teammates at the start of the "65 season. At the end of the season, I was elected the most inspirational player.

I went on to get my MBA and joined Levi Strauss & Co. after graduating in the Spring of '67. I worked in Sales and eventually became VP of Sales for the Jeans Division.

I've always been moved by a quote by Zig Ziglar:




For all of those athletes participating in sports, keep believing in yourself and keep on working to improve yourself.


Jim Phillips

Gillian Akiko Guevara

Women’s Swimming & Diving // Class of 1997

To the graduating seniors:

Congratulations to all our graduating Student athletes. It has been a year like no other, full of changes and challenges. But it is what it is, and we do the best we can in the circumstances we find ourselves in, always looking for the lessons and blessings therein. What a doubly memorable year this will always be! I am confident that you will soar, and be even more strong, resilient and better with all that you have had to overcome in these last few months. You are SO well equipped with your Cal diploma in tow, ready to make positive changes and leave lasting golden Bear marks in this world. Go get ‘em, Go Bears!!

To all returning Cal Student-Athletes:


I know these are uncertain and challenging times, but my advice to you is to make the most of your remaining time at Cal. Take the classes you've been wanting to take, be all there, and make these moments, days and years count. We have yet to see what the new normal will be, but till then be open, pliable and moldable, adapting and adjusting to the changes required of us as they come. All anyone can ask of us is that we do the best we can, where we're at, with what we have. We are SO blessed to be part of the Cal family, and I know one day you too will look back at this time and see it as one of the best years of your life. Carpe diem,

Go Bears!

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Kamalani Dung

Softball // Class of 2020

To the graduating seniors:


To the returning Cal student-athletes:

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Derek King

Men's Basketball // Class of 2018

To all of the graduating seniors:


Congratulations on such a huge accomplishment. Balancing school and athletics at such an amazing school is definitely something to be proud of. Remember all of the long days, the grueling practices, the finals weeks, and all of the sacrifices you guys have made. This is something you can take with you and always be proud of yourself. You are all now prepared to take the next steps in achieving your life dreams, give it everything you have, and don't settle for anything less.


To all returning Cal Student-Athletes:

I encourage all of you to stay active. Use this time to get ahead instead of fall behind. There are many ways to still push yourself. Hill sprints, calisthenics, runs and the list goes on. Take this time to work on your mental strength and visualize all of the success you will have in your upcoming season.

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Jennifer Ruger

Women’s Tennis // Class of 1988

To the graduating seniors:

Congratulations graduates, you have worked so hard and your Cal experience will be with you forever, mine is. 

To all returning Cal Student-Athletes:


To returning Cal student-athletes, hang in there, this will help you grow. 

Scott Anderson

Rugby // Class of 2003

To the graduating seniors:

To the student-athletes of the Class of 2020: the abrupt and unexpected end to your academic and athletic pursuits at Cal has no doubt left what feels now like a huge hole in your experience. But there's good news. As you shift your focus to the future, you will undoubtedly channel your disappointment and use the skill, determination, and grit that got you to Cal in the first place into growing and achieving your personal and professional goals. Soon enough those life experiences will grow so vast that the original hole left behind will start to feel like it's the size of nothing more than the keyhole to your front door. But it will always be there to motivate you, and in turn remind you of the Cal experience that helped contribute to your success. 

To all returning Cal Student-Athletes:


To returning student-athletes: finish what your teammates started and weren't able to finish. Honor them by using up every minute of the opportunity you have left. 

John Cleveland

Men's Swimming & Diving // Class of 1978

To the graduating seniors:

Cal is a great foundation. It forces you to think, it requires excellent management of your time and resources and prepares you for the next 40 to 50 years. Enjoy and excel!

To all returning Cal Student-Athletes:

I did not know what I was going to do after I graduated. I did some exploratory interviews and one of them resulted in a job as a Human Resources professional. Today after a successful career in HR with multi billion $ and multi national public corporations I am now semi-retired. It all started with my time at Cal, my friends at Cal and my student athlete experience.

Quinn Tedford

Football // Class of 2012

To the graduating seniors:

Class of 2020, Congratulations!!! UC Berkeley Alumni from around the world are very proud of all your accomplishments and the way you represented the University. Berkeley has shaped and matured you into the person you are today, you are ready to attack any endeavors that come your way. Use everything you have learned through your experience at Cal and implement it into how you live your life, whether that is your work ethic, time management, organization skills, budgeting, leading others and many more. I wish you all nothing but the best and whether you know it or not the new modern era lies on your shoulders, continue to lead the World! Go Bears!

To all returning Cal Student-Athletes:

To all you returning Cal Bears, continue to hold the vision and trust the process! I know things are difficult during this time, however you all know this already as being a student-athlete is no easy task. Continue to be great on and off the field, court, and swimming pool. Cal Bear Alumni is proud of you all. ROLL ON YOU BEARS!!!

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Pippa Saunders

Women’s Water Polo // Class of 2016

Congratulations to the graduating 2020 Cal student athletes! What you've done over your 4-5 years at Cal has been nothing short of remarkable. You will find that the grueling practices, the all nighters, the wins and losses, the injuries, and the spirit you found in yourself to keep going has placed you in an elite group of graduating seniors. You are more prepared to take on hardships than most simply because of your hard work and dedication to school and sport at Berkeley. Cal doesn't make it easy for you to succeed - and because of that, you all truly know the meaning of hard work and perseverance. I hope you can find comfort in that, especially now during these unprecedented times. Within the year after I graduated in 2016 I lived abroad in a country where I didn't know anyone or speak the native language, struggled to find employment in a market that "wanted more applicable work experience", and then finally landed my dream job at Google. All of my experience at Cal Athletics prepared me for that tough year after college. Bar none - the single thing that motivated me then and to this day has been all the years I spent struggling; the years I spent failing, getting passed up, losing, and missing out. 


Your struggle will make you stronger. It'll make you more empathetic. It'll give you humility. It'll make you smarter. It'll make you more resilient. And because of that it will make you a successful leader and role model in your life after college. And I hope now, more than ever, you'll continue to find comfort in that today and as you keep going on. Your alumni are beyond proud! GO BEARS!

Bruce Kennedy

Men's Track & Field // Class of 1973


To those of you who have now graduated, CONGRATULATIONS. Be proud of your achievement, you Golden Bears! The dual role of student /athlete is a tough, demanding one, especially at a school like Cal, but the rewards are great. Thank you for all your efforts to represent Cal in the best possible way.


To those who will not be returning, your last season is lost forever. In many cases this would have been your last opportunity to do something which has been a major part of your life for a long time, something you excel at and enjoy. Don’t focus on your loss but on the positives your athletic talent has brought to you; the opportunity to get an education at the greatest university in the world, the life lessons of discipline, dedication and competition you have learned and the lifelong friendships you have made along the way. These will stay with you a lot longer than the disappointment of a lost season. Move on to your next goals and take great memories of Cal with you.


To the athletes who will be coming back, especially those who will have an additional year or more of eligibility, continue to take advantage of the great opportunities you have as a student/athlete at Cal. Life on campus is likely to be different, but accept the new normal. Adjust to it and keep focused on your academic and athletic ambitions. Take every advantage that is available to you as a Cal student/athlete. You’ve earned it, capitalize on the opportunities, enjoy them and continue to represent Cal with pride.

A few words for Cal athletes whose Olympic dreams are on hold. You’ve been hit with a double blow. More than most, I can identify with the emotions you have been going through.


I am a three-time Olympian and an Olympic record holder, yet my record is one I’d rather not hold. In the 124-year long history of the modern Olympics, I am the only athlete who qualified for three different Olympic teams-- yet was never given a chance to compete in the Games themselves. In 1972 and 1976, I was selected to represent the country of my birth, Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe), which was banned on both occasions because of its apartheid politics. In 1980, as a naturalized citizen and a two-time national champion in the javelin, I qualified for the U.S. Olympic team only to be denied again, this time because of President Jimmy Carter’s decision to boycott the Moscow Games following the Soviet Union’s invasion of Afghanistan.


I’m often asked how I handled three tough disappointments and the answer is always the same. “They were just track meets and in the big scheme of things if those were the worst let downs I had to handle, I’m fine with it.” The reality is, I had no control over the lost opportunities, but I did have personal control over how I allowed them to impact me. Each was a good life lesson. Sometimes you do everything in your ability to achieve an important goal and make extraordinary sacrifices but things beyond your control interfere to deny you that achievement. You have two choices: you can relinquish control of your emotions to the negative situation or take control of it. The first alternative brings a heavy negative to carry around. I took the second alternative, accepted the situation, put it behind me and moved on to other goals.


I offer the same advice to you. The decision to postpone the Games was a necessary one, far beyond your control. It’s tough to accept and it is natural to be disappointed, but don’t carry the burden of your disappointment. Accept what you can’t control; but don’t let it control you and refocus on your Olympic dream and move on towards it. I promise you that when you march into the Olympic stadium in Tokyo next year the disappointment and frustration you feel now will be forgotten.



Kristen Smyth

Women's Gymnastics // Class of 1993

To all of the graduating seniors:


Congratulations to the Class of 2020! Thank you for inspiring all of us over the last four years with your dedication, enthusiasm and passion for your sport. You have worked extremely hard excelling on the field and in the classroom and have represented CAL Athletics with pride.


As you move forward, continue to lead and inspire, follow your heart, dream big, smile often.


Find something you love to do, and then do it so well that people have to pay you for it.


Find a healthy balance in your life that includes an equal amount of work, love and play.


Nurture your relationships with other people, because in the end that is all that really matters.


Finish strong, stay connected and take time to celebrate. We are all so proud of you!

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