Sharing the Light

Paul and Diamond Haymon

PAUL ’10 AND DIAMOND ’15 HAYMON

As Berkeley undergrads, Paul and Diamond Haymon learned firsthand about the importance of private gifts to campus. They met while working at the Cal Calling Center, where they reached out to alumni and parents in order to solicit support for the university.

“Alumni can have a huge impact on current students by giving,” says Paul. “As student callers, we showed our commitment to Cal by fundraising. And now that we’re alumni, we continue to show that commitment by donating.”

The couple’s generosity over the past five years has been aimed primarily at promoting scholarships. “Both of us came from low socioeconomic backgrounds,” Paul says, “and without the generosity of donors to scholarships, we would have had more debt — and fewer opportunities.” Diamond adds, “We want to make attending Cal more affordable and make opportunities such as studying abroad more feasible for students who come from backgrounds similar to ours.”

For those interested in maintaining their connection to Berkeley, the Haymons recommend giving to campus. “We’d advise them to give where their gift could make the largest impact,” says Diamond.

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2014-15 membership year. 1,850 households have given for 25-29 years.
Amit and Anju Sharma

AMIT ’84, M.S. ’88 AND ANJU SHARMA

Sustaining Berkeley’s excellence is especially important to Amit and Anju Sharma now that their two children — their son, Sumeet ’14, and daughter, Priyanka ’16 — are Cal alumni as well. Among their many gifts to campus, the couple has established a scholarship and given regularly to the annual fund at the College of Engineering (where Amit and Sumeet both studied).

For the Sharmas, the decision to give back to Berkeley in a consistent way has been an easy one. “You have to think of it as an investment in the future of California and America,” says Anju, a project manager at Hewlett-Packard. “It’s a jewel that needs to be protected among American institutions, and coupled with the times we’re living in, I can’t think of a better place to support.”

Amit has enjoyed the benefits of Cal’s world-class public education from a variety of perspectives — as an undergraduate, a graduate student, a donor, and a Cal parent. Today, working in Silicon Valley, he often recalls the guidance he received at Cal and remains grateful for the positive impact that Berkeley has had on his approach to his work.

“I still think of the faculty as my role models,” says Amit, who also works at HP as a director of research and development. “When I’m in a tough situation at work, I think back to how my professors would handle a situation. They focused on the highest values.”

2014-15 membership year. 2,000+ households have given for 30-39 years.
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Marion M. Ault

MARION M. AULT

A student from Napa in the 1940s, Marion Ault first experienced Berkeley via Greyhound bus. Her education at Cal — she studied psychology and economics — not only gave her the confidence to pursue a career in the banking industry, but it also launched a multigenerational family connection to campus.

“Berkeley opened my eyes to the diversity of cultures and the excitement of learning,” she recalls fondly, citing the school’s global reputation for excellence and its reputation for activism, well before the Free Speech Movement of the 1960s. “It was the most important thing in my life, actually!” Marion’s happy memories of Berkeley also include pledging the Delta Zeta sorority (“an exciting house of active girls,” she says) and working at the Daily Cal.

As a donor, she’s particularly supportive of the University Library, where she worked 40 hours a week while a student. And over the years, she’s made many trips back to campus, often to visit family — her son, Richard, studied journalism and rowed crew at Cal, and now her grandson, John, is a senior studying environmental sciences. She also has stayed in touch with a group of her fellow female students over the years, gathering periodically to reminisce about the meaningful connections they made at Berkeley.

“If anything was happening in the western United States,” Marion says, “it was happening at Berkeley. It felt like I came to life there.”

2014-15 membership year. 400+ households have given for 40-49 years.
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Ann and John Dempsay

ANN ’60 AND JOHN ’60 DEMPSAY

Though they live near Los Angeles, Ann and John Dempsay remain in close contact with the Berkeley campus — quite literally, as they fly north for every Cal home football game. They’ve even gotten to know some of the team’s players and their families.

The couple’s love of Cal athletics extends to the university as a whole. “We got so much out of our educations and had such great encouragement,” recalls Ann, who studied political science as an undergrad. “Giving back as alumni is a natural thing. My family was always benevolent.”

Ann met her first husband, the late Richard Wonder LL.B. ’60, at Berkeley. Her second husband, John, went to high school with Ann in Bellevue, Washington, and earned a degree in criminology at Cal. Together, the Dempsays consistently support many areas of campus — the University Library and the College of Letters & Science, along with athletic programs such as tennis, football, and crew.

“Athletics bring out a different side of a person,” says John, a retired paper and packaging executive who rowed crew as a young man. “Competing in sports is an enriching experience, and one that we want to continue to support for Cal’s talented student-athletes.” Adds Ann, “You gain so much more by giving than you ever do receiving.”

2014-15 membership year. 30 households have given for 50+ years.
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