May 3, 2009
On May 2-3, a community of nearly 30 UCLA Anderson alumni, students, family, friends and Dean Judy D. Olian gathered at Lake San Antonio, Monterey County, CA to remember a friend and former classmate. Carl Peter Odebjer (1974-2007) was well-known on campus for his bright smile and zest for life. This zeal spilled over to his volunteer efforts, having served in Darfur, Sudan for Doctors without Boarders. He also had a thirst for competition. So on May 2-3, this UCLA Anderson group paid tribute to their friend by competing in the Avia Wildflower Triathlons, one of the largest triathlons in the world and one that Peter had completed.
The Wildflower Triathlon wasn’t only a way for close friends to honor Peter; they also raised money for the Peter Odebjer Memorial Fund, which provides a fellowship for UCLA Anderson students who fit Peter’s likeness: those who exhibit academic excellence, a global outlook, volunteer leadership and a passion for the outdoors.
Some members of the group, including Dean Olian, participated in the Long Course Triathlon as part of a relay team. The long course consists of a 1.2 mile swim, 56 mile bike ride, and 13.1 mile run. Others competed in the Mountain Bike Triathlon, a shorter distance race with an off-road terrain. Among the participants in this race was Sergio Mujica (’09) the first student to receive a fellowship from Peter’s Fund.
Also in attendance for the weekend events were members of Peter’s family: parents Christer and Ann-Charlotte who flew in from Sweden, and flying in from Hong Kong his brother Kristian Odebjer (’04). Kristian overcame his jet lag and competed in the Olympic distance triathlon, setting an impressive time.
Kelly Kent (’07), a triathlete participant and former classmate of Peter’s, initially saw the triathlon as an opportunity to support the Fund and reconnect with classmates, but later realized there was much more to be gained from the weekend. “When I arrived and met Peter’s family, I realized that we were not just there to support our friend, but also the memory of a brother, and a son as well,” Kent said. “Hearing his family talk about Peter as a child in Sweden and organizing his own mini-triathlons around his house, reminded me what a great person he was and also how much I needed to appreciate and enjoy the time I was spending with my friends over the weekend.”
In connection with Wildflower, the UCLA Anderson triathletes were successful in raising more than $10,000 to support the Peter Odebjer Memorial Fund. “In the end, the Wildflower experience was rewarding for many reasons,” Kent reflected. “But I think I was happiest with the level of support that the Anderson community showed for this event and for our friend.”
To contribute to the Fund, please visit www.giving.ucla.edu/anderson and select “Peter Odebjer Memorial Fund” in the drop down menu. Or call Keri Russell, associate director of major gifts, at 310-825-7343.