Rick Shuart (’04) has long been a UCLA Anderson evangelist.
He feels a deep draw to the school, and has participated in every reunion since his graduation. A Westwood resident, he often jogs through the school with his daughter to feel the campus energy and keep track of the progress on Marion Anderson Hall.
Yet last year, with his youngest child off to preschool, Shuart found himself with more time, looking for a way to deepen his connection with his grad school alma mater. His 15th reunion was coming up, and, after reaching out to some contacts and mentors, he decided that serving on a reunion giving committee would be the perfect opportunity and challenge.
Being on such a committee involves outreach to fellow classmates, encouraging reunion attendance and philanthropic support, and recruiting leaders for each class section — tasks Shuart was eager to tackle.
“Most people are excited to get involved, and want to raise funds to support the school,” he said in a phone conversation just before his May 4 reunion. “The whole class of 2004 was a really collegial group.”
Gifts from alumni celebrating their reunions account for more than $2 million of the annual fund this year, allowing the school to be adaptable in its support for students and faculty. More than 100 alumni leaders like Shuart, spanning class years from 1984 to 2014, rally their peers to the cause.
For Shuart, the outreach came naturally. In his pitch, he focused on reconnecting his classmates with the UCLA Anderson spirit. “I tailored my message for different people, but I have tried to communicate that you still feel the same Anderson vibe and energy on campus,” he said. “That spirit is here and that flame only survives with ongoing support from alumni.”
Shuart comes from an investment banking background, and now is a managing director at Caltius Structured Capital. His role on the reunion committee has allowed him to rediscover the diverse career paths his classmates have taken.
“I found it refreshing to have this outlet to reconnect with classmates and hear about what people are doing in different industries and walks of life,” he said. “I talked to someone who was an operational consultant, then another person who manages a real estate firm, and another who works in health care. Others are doing more venture or entrepreneurial endeavors.”
Shuart says his reunion committee leadership role has helped him fulfill his desire to reconnect with UCLA Anderson and his old classmates.
“Being at Anderson and reconnecting with my classmates has been invigorating. It’s a dynamic community and whenever I engage with it, I always come away feeling energized.”