UCLA CKI Honors Rich Thigpen

UCLA CKI Alumni Meeting honoring Rich Thigpen – June 20, 2020

Hosted by Nguyet Tong, Brian Kan and Leonna Luc

Rich Thigpen Candlelight Vigil Service – June 14, 2020

Statement by Brian Kan

Rich has been a guiding light for many of us who went through the Circle K organization over the years. Not only did Rich open up his house to help boards and families facilitate their retreats, but also provided mentorship to help us during our young adult years to develop the leadership skills that us, alumni, today use to positively impact the world. Even as the club changed hands throughout the years, he has always been the one common denominator for UCLA Circle K and, as a result, was pivotal for our club’s sustained success and excellence in service, leadership, and fellowship.

If these accomplishments alone were all that he achieved with Circle K, he would have been amazing. However, he wasn’t just amazing – he was inspirational.

A large reason why I, along with many of my Circle K Alumni friends, still stay in contact with each other many years after graduating was that Rich put in the extra miles to galvanize our alumni network through Dim Sum lunches and Alumni-themed meetings at UCLA. He took time to reach out to people individually to reconnect and hangout. He even invited us to his annual Fourth of July and Christmas parties to get an opportunity to meet his family, neighbors and other close friends. I feel very fortunate to have such a strong network of people I can count on and it was all because of Rich.

Statement by Leonna Luc

There really aren’t enough words to describe how great of a person Rich was and the impact he’s had in our lives and our hearts go out to his family.

I think I speak on behalf of our alumni, when I say I honestly don’t know how you did it Rich. You had such a big heart. You selflessly invested in all of our personal and professional growth and inspired us to be better versions of ourselves. It is because of you that our UCLA CKI Alumni community is so strong and that we all continue to serve our communities in different ways.

Rich went above and beyond as a faculty advisor. He embodied the spirit of Circle K and represented every tenant – service, leadership, and fellowship to the fullest. We’ve heard that he’s always wanted to create a Circle K scholarship, and now we will be taking this up on his behalf to start a fundraiser in order to get this established. We are still working out the details and will provide more information later for those who want to support.

This next video that will be played was created a few years ago to thank Rich for his donations and support to UCLA CKI members who were raising money for the school’s Dance Marathon, which is a 26-hour event dedicated to fighting against Pediatric AIDS. Though this video was created to thank Rich for his support with the event, it represents how grateful UCLA CKI was to have had Rich as our faculty advisor.

Rich, I only hope you knew how amazing you were and that you were able to see the significant impact you’ve had on all of us. We’ll continue to carry on your legacy. Thank you for everything Rich and for just being you. You will be missed. 

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