More than 200 alumni, parents and friends gathered at CBS Television City Studios in Los Angeles to celebrate We Do, The Campaign for Bucknell University Feb. 7. Guests explored interactive academic stations presented by faculty and students, listened to professors' "snap talks" about new research and learned about the institution's plans for the future.
"The event is amazing. It's inspirational," said Nyambi Nyambi '01. "To know that Bucknell is actively taking steps to move the University forward, that's awesome. That's something I can get behind as an alumnus."
Southern California is home to an increasing number of Bucknell alumni, families and friends, noted President John Bravman.
"It's exciting to show Bucknellians in Los Angeles some of the great work our students and faculty do every day," he said. "We are so grateful for the growing support and enthusiasm in Southern California. It's bringing our campaign closer to our goal and helping us deliver an ever-stronger educational experience to our students."
During his keynote address, Bravman described how the We Do Campaign will better enable Bucknell to prepare students for not just a career, but also a lifetime of success in ways they never imagined. He then called the audience's attention to Bill Westenhofer '90, winner of two Academy Awards for special effects work on "The Golden Compass" and "The Life of Pi." The computer science major later said that winning an Academy Award was "never in the foggiest part of my mind. You never know what you're going to do in life."
But, he added, the University prepared him well for the unknown.
"I actually chose Bucknell because of the ability to cross between art and engineering," Westenhofer said. "If you're an engineer, you have to be able to communicate. If you're an art major, you have to be able to understand science. It's really good that Bucknell recognizes that's important to be relevant and successful in the future."
Les Moonves '71, president and chief executive officer of CBS, arranged Bucknell's access to the flashy Studio 33 venue, home to the "The Price Is Right." Many guests took advantage of the opportunity to spin the long-running game show's famous wheel.
Abby Borden '08 catered the event — and then catered the Grammy Awards the following night.
"To do this for my alma mater is so great," she said. "I can't believe there are this many Bucknellians in L.A. It's just really fantastic."
Launched publicly in October 2012, We Do, The Campaign for Bucknell University aims to create or strengthen six academic and residential learning initiatives designed to transform Bucknell's education experience.
The campaign will also increase funding for scholarships and financial aid, recruit and retain outstanding faculty, and invest in new facilities. As of Feb. 9, the We Do Campaign had raised more than $338 million toward its half-a-billion dollar goal.
The next We Do event, which focuses on engineering education, takes place April 16 at the Franklin Institute in Philadelphia. The We Do Tour resumes this fall with a Sept. 19 stop in Baltimore, with online registration opening in August.