Dear UCLA Circle K Alumni,
When Rich first approached me in Fall of 2017 upon my return to UCLA, it was like we were never apart. We picked right back up where we left off when I graduated in 2011. Even after graduating, Rich made an effort to reach out to me. He continued to build and maintain friendships with so many Circle K alumni at UCLA and beyond.
When he asked me to take over as UCLA Circle K Advisor starting in Fall 2018, I felt the burden and pressure of having to carry on his legacy. I feel it today. Even more so now that he’s gone. But Rich had a way of convincing you and giving you confidence. I trusted in his trust in me.
Rich was a warm and honest person. He offered his time and energy to dozens of causes, charities and foundations. He threw great parties and alumni reunions, always creating ways to connect with others. He was dedicated to using his skills and experiences to their full potential to improve the world around him and around us.
He pushes you to be more engaged so that you can figure out what’s worth fighting for. I am honored to serve in my capacity as UCLA Circle K Advisor. And I do it for the members and for Rich and a little for me too – to carve out my own path and legacy.
This new alumni website serves to remember Rich Thigpen and strengthen our alumni network now without him but inspired by him.
I want to thank everyone who has encouraged me, believed in me, and helped me along the way. I want to thank Calvin Thanh for taking the initiative in developing and building this website so that we can make this contribution to celebrating and continuing Rich’s legacy.
Nguyet Tong (Class of 2011)
UCLA Circle K Advisor 2018-present