If history is any indicator, Salvador Sarmiento '73 will fit right in as the UCI Alumni Association's new president.
Sarmiento, whose term began July 1, has made serving others his life's work, first as an attorney and now as one of 1,500 California judges.
His calling was cemented as a child in El Paso, Texas, where he and his seven siblings watched his immigrant parents toil on a 9,000-head commercial dairy farm for $90 every two weeks.
"I've always believed that we stand on the shoulders of someone else," explains Sarmiento. "I know I am fortunate that people like my parents struggled to allow me to be in a position to help others now."
Sarmiento and his family moved to Southern California in 1964, and in 1969 two UCI undergraduates visited his high school as part of an outreach program to recruit Orange County students to the young campus.
"Recruiters from UCI came to Saddleback High School," he recalls, "and 10 or 12 of us were pulled out of our classroom to talk to them. They brought applications, but I think only two of us submitted one. I was accepted."
As a UCI student, Sarmiento, along with other Latino classmates, created a K-12 academic outreach program called La Escuelita, or The Little School, and assisted in the formation of a ballet folklorico group. Versions of both continue today.
After earning a history degree at UCI and a law degree at UCLA, Sarmiento began his career as a staff attorney with the Legal Aid Society of Orange County. He then served as a deputy state public defender in San Diego before starting his own legal practice in Santa Ana, which he ran for 12 years. In 1997, he was appointed an Orange County Superior Court commissioner and, in 2003, a judge.
As leader of UCI's largest volunteer organization, Sarmiento hopes to encourage other alumni to join the association and get involved in the campus.
"Having the alumni community back on campus has such an impact on the university," he says. "Right now, with the state's economic problems, the university and the association have an opportunity to be sensitive to struggles people are going through by making these difficult times easier. That's what I want to do as association president."
— Michelle Williams, UCI Alumni Association
Help the UCI Alumni Association welcome the class of 2013 to the Anteater family at the association's annual Summer Send-Off events.
This year, send-offs are planned for Sacramento, San Francisco, San Diego and Riverside. Alumni volunteers are needed for all events, and alumni coordinators are still needed for San Diego and Riverside. Without coordinators, these events can't take place.
Those interested in helping to coordinate send-offs for new students from San Diego or Riverside can contact UCIAA at firstname.lastname@example.org. To volunteer for the Sacramento or San Francisco events, contact the alumni coordinator:
Saturday, Aug. 22, 10 a.m.-noon
UC Davis Extension, Room 209, Sutter Square Galleria, 2901 K St.
Alumni coordinator: Marsha Vacca '71 at email@example.com
Saturday, Aug. 15, 10 a.m.-noon
California College of the Arts, 1111 8th St.
Alumni coordinator: Noki Seekao '02 at firstname.lastname@example.org
The 40th reunion of UCI's first four-year graduating class has been scheduled for Saturday, Sept. 26. Activities will take place on campus throughout the day, concluding with an outdoor celebration on Anteater Plaza (between Aldrich Hall and Langson Library).
Reservation information will be distributed in late July, and parking details and maps will follow in mid-August.