I’ve never been to a high school or college reunion — until Thursday, when I was surrounded by fellow UC San Diego alums during a reception at the Armand Hammer Museum in Los Angeles. Four of us received awards from Chancellor Pradeep K. Khosla, who is building the university into a research and high-tech powerhouse. “I hope you come back to campus soon,” he said. “If you recognize it, I’m not doing my job.”

Also representing for UC San Diego in the Episcopal Diocese of Los Angeles and at Thursday’s reception were high tech financial powerhouse Jamie Montgomery of The Parish of St. Matthew – The Episcopal Church in Pacific Palisades and Canon Suzanne Edwards-Acton, who reintroduced me to our fellow alum Robbie Butler, founder of the Speak Up Empowerment Foundation, Inc., now getting ready for its eighth annual Ms. Single Mom Empowerment Forum on April 20 at the Long Beach Airport Marriott.

Kathy and some of our family and friends, including from St. Paul’s Commons, Echo Park, were along for the ceremony. Hearing that UC San Diego is the second most applied to school in the country, Bruin Andy Guilford told me UCLA was the first. My elder daughter Valerie Passarella was delighted to learn that one of my fellow awardees, actor and playwright Allison Tatlock, wrote for one of her favorite shows, “Better Call Saul.”

Another winner, Mayla Tao, podcaster and famed owner of Donut Princess, and other members of her family shared their experiences in the Cambodian diaspora. I reciprocated with my memories of her uncle, Ted Ngoy, whom Valerie also remembers from our Orange County days. A refugee from the Khmer Rouge, Ted built a donut empire of his own only to return home to try to rebuild his country. Mayla snapped a selfie and promised to send it to Ted. Only at a reunion!