One of my most memorable days at UC San Diego was in 2014, when we brought Angela Davis, MA ’69, back to campus for the keynote address at the Black History Scholarship Brunch held every February. She was coming from Northern California, but her flight was canceled due to weather. She took it upon herself to get a different flight out, and called me on my personal phone to let me know.
Trust me, getting a phone call from Angela Davis is a wonderful and frightening experience. She asked me if I would pick her up at the airport. Again, an amazing and frightening experience, to which I said, “Of course I will!” Are you kidding me? Just being able to ride in the car with her and talk about life was eye-opening.
We hold these people in high esteem—as we should because of the work that they’ve done—but she’s a real woman with real concerns and everyday needs like all of us. I picked her up the airport, walked her to the car and she turned to me and said, “You know, because of all of the hectic arrangements that I had to do this morning, I completely forgot my makeup bag. Can we go to CVS, so I can get a lipstick?”
So I ran her over to CVS. It was hilarious. It was wonderful. She’s so down to earth.
She made a great impact on the students when she did her speech at the brunch. Afterward, they sat with her in a small intimate environment and talked to her about the work that she’s done and the perspective she has about UC San Diego since she’s left. It was general advice for people going out into the world, into their career after they leave UC San Diego. It was extraordinary.
—Pamela Frugé ’87 is the chief administrative officer for UC San Diego’s Colleges Business Office. She is actively involved in the Black Alumni Scholarship Council.