Dear Colleagues,

I am pleased to announce the appointment of Samantha Putnam as our campus’s new Executive Director for Alumni Affairs and Executive Director of the UC Santa Barbara Alumni Association.

Samantha has been leading our alumni engagement efforts as the interim director during our search for the next director. During this transitional time, Samantha has worked closely with our Alumni Association Board of Directors to identify alumni engagement opportunities and set strategic goals for both the Association and Alumni Affairs. She helped to maintain and strengthen alumni programming despite the challenges brought on by the pandemic. Working with the Board, she strengthened the financial position of Alumni Affairs despite losing two years of critical revenue from the closure of the Family Vacation Center, which successfully reopened in 2022.

During her tenure as interim director, Samantha has built strong relationships with campus partners, including our Office of Development, in support of alumni engagement efforts. She also served as our campus representative on the Alumni Association of the University of California.

Samantha joined the UC Santa Barbara Alumni Affairs team in 2016, serving first as Programs Director and then as Associate Director for Alumni Affairs. Samantha also previously worked in Development for the Bren School. Prior to her time at UC Santa Barbara, Samantha spent three years as Assistant Director of Alumni and Family Relations at California Lutheran University in Thousand Oaks. She also worked in major gifts fundraising at the Environmental Defense Fund in San Francisco.

I would like to thank Alumni Association President Michael Citron ’10 and Executive Director of Development Chris Pizzinat ’88 for their work leading the search advisory and consultation process that helped identify Samantha from a national pool of candidates. I extend my sincere thanks as well to all of our alumni, faculty, staff, students, and community members who participated in the consultation process.

Our alumni are an integral part of our UC Santa Barbara community. We are deeply grateful for their generous support for, and service to, our campus. Our alumni play a critical role in building awareness about UC Santa Barbara’s world-class research and teaching, and their work helps to enhance our campus’s national and international reputation.

Please join me in congratulating Samantha Putnam as she continues to serve our campus and our alumni in her new leadership role.


Henry T. Yang