Alum Greets Graduating Senior with Something She Never Expected

As Giulia Barker moved through the GradFest tent near the SDSU Bookstore last month, the senior marketing major encountered a familiar face in the crowd that she never expected to see there.  It was her father, David (’97).

David and Giulia Barker
David Barker ('97) surprises his daughter, Giulia ('12) with the gift of an Alumni Association lifetime membership.
David Barker had come to GradFest as an Alumni Association volunteer, explaining the benefits of lifetime membership in the organization to graduating students preparing for commencement.  He chose the day he expected his daughter would pass through to place orders for her announcements, cap, gown and other graduation necessities.

"This is a surprise for my daughter,” he said. “She has no idea, we think."

The surprise David had planned was an Alumni Association lifetime membership as a gift for Giulia.  As an Aztec for life himself, David knew about all the benefits of staying connected to SDSU after graduation and he wanted her to enjoy them as well.  


But his gift also had a deeper significance.

Barker family at Gradfest
(l-r) Giulia, David and Valentina Barker in a promotional photo taken during GradFest 1997.
"Giulia and my older daughter, Valentina, came with me in '97 to this event and we had a picture taken here,” he explained, pulling a 15-year-old color photo from an envelope. “She was six years old then and the folks who took the photos used both of my daughters and me in their promo picture, so that kind of ties it all back together.  

“She's been here.  She doesn't remember that day, but I decided it would be a neat surprise for her."

When Giulia rounded the corner approaching the Alumni Association booth, her face registered a quizzical expression as she sought an explanation for her out-of-context encounter.  What was her dad doing here?   

David quickly explained his gift idea and Giulia’s countenance of confusion became one of cautious gratitude.

"I had no idea,” she said of her father’s stealthy gift.  “I was super surprised - super shocked!  It’s awesome."


Giulia became one of more than 200 graduating students to join the Alumni Association as lifetime members through a special Gradfest 2012 offer.  In addition to other membership gifts, they receive their commencement cap, gown and tassel for free courtesy of alumni lifetime members who sponsor them.

Giulia and David Barker
(l-r) Giulia and David Barker at GradFest 2012 in April.
“I had been thinking about it,” said Giulia, a marketing major who already has a job lined up after graduation thanks to a successful internship. “I think it’s great.”

As David had been explaining to other students, he thinks it’s a gift that makes practical sense.

“She'll get rewards through her lifetime from being a member as I have been able to occasionally reach out to other alumni for information, some advice and mentoring,” he explained.  “And I think that's important especially in today's economy."

Giulia doesn’t remember much about the last GradFest she attended 15 years ago except for the photo she took with her dad and sister, Valentina.  Now she has a gift that will always remind her of her dad’s surprise and the bond shared between them and SDSU.

“Now I’m an alum forever,” she said. “I’m an Aztec for life!”

Give your special grad the gift of an SDSU Alumni Association lifetime membership today!