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Member Spotlight: Susan Murakami (BS '75)

Tell me how you first got involved with the Caltech Associates and why supporting Caltech is important to you?

My husband, Lee, and I are both alumni and were giving at a reasonable level for young alums. We were asked to join the Caltech Associates as junior members, which was possible because the company Lee worked for at the time matched our contribution. Supporting Caltech is important to us because we have both benefited from having Caltech degrees and really appreciate the superb, think-outside-of-the-box approach to education that we received. In particular, I benefited from the small size and high faculty-to-student ratio. It is important to us to support scientific research and education in America and to try and encourage others to do so too. It is also of paramount importance for us to support the undergraduate students here at Caltech. The students are very like us, but given the society we now live in, with more rules and regulations, we want to contribute to making their life at Caltech more fun, especially given the academic load.

What do you wish other people knew about the Caltech Associates?

I would like more people, not otherwise affiliated with Caltech, to realize that through the Caltech Associates they can build ties to this really remarkable Institute of research and education in Southern California. Being a Caltech Associate leads to learning a lot about what is going on at the cutting edge of science, as well as building connections that can be helpful in multiple fields outside of academia, and to meeting some really interesting people.

What do you enjoy most about being a Caltech Associate?

One: The opportunity to learn about the research going on here, to visit some of the labs, and to interact with the graduate students; and two: Meeting and becoming friends with like-minded people.

Outside of your involvement as a Caltech Associates board member and serving on the Southern California Committee, what do you do?

Other than the Associates board, I currently serve on the Caltech Y board, the SURF board, the Gnome board (subset of Alumni), and have been on the Alumni Association board. I serve on the Seminar Day (Alumni Reunion Weekend) committee, and other committees of the Alumni Association board. However, possibly most interesting, I help Tom Mannion, Senior Director of Student Activities and Programs, with his cooking classes each week and assist at his special events. These events include food and wine pairing courses, manners courses, and 12-to 21-course tasting menu dinners. It has been a wonderful way to stay connected to the undergraduates, especially those that also help cook!

What might we be surprised to know about you?

I have two children, one also has a degree in mechanical engineering from Caltech and the other has a degree in business from the University of Edinburgh. Also, I would like to find some time to take up my hobbies of embroidery and needlepoint again.

Susan Murakami

Name: Susan S. Murakami, M.D.
Member Since: 1996
Membership Level: President's Circle
Chapter: Southern California
Job Title: Associate Pathologist, Huntington Memorial Hospital, Pasadena