Alumni Events

Alumni Cocktail Party

Thanks to all alumni who joined us on October 1 for a wine and cheese reception on the upper patio of campus!

Over 30 alumni stopped by to chat and network with their fellow graduates as well as with Antioch University Santa Barbara faculty and staff. The reception was topped off by speeches from Victoria Riskin, chair of the AUSB Board of Trustees, and alumni Michael Ruiz and Shannon Stark.

Check out more photos in our gallery from the party on our Facebook page – and Like us while you’re there!

Alumni cocktail party 1


Alumni cocktail party 3

Alumni cocktail party 2

Alumni cocktail party 4



Alexa Aparicio wins iPad miniiPad mini giveaway winner

Smiles all around as Alexa Aparicio won an iPad mini from the Antioch University Santa Barbara Alumni Association after entering a drawing for all alumni at Commencement in June.

Alexa, who graduated with her BA in Fall 2013 and will continue on in the MBA program at AUSB, stopped by on Monday, July 14 to pick up her prize from university President Dr. Nancy Leffert.

Previous Events

Visit Lotusland with the AUSB Alumni Association!

On Saturday, August 6th, a group of AUSB alumni and special friends attended a fabulous tour and reception at Ganna Walska’s Lotusland.





The lotuses were in bloom! A summer day to remember, the AUSB Alumni daytrip to Lotusland was awe-filled and inspiring.  After the Santa Barbara morning fog burned off, it turned out to be a beautiful sunny day at the Montecito Estate named by Madame Ganna Walska ‘Lotusland’.  AUSB Alumni and friends gathered at the visitor’s center and were led on stunning tours of the grounds by volunteer docents.  Each guest experienced an intimate two-hour tour of the gardens, pools, ponds and unique features of Lotusland.

Our docents were very knowledgeable about Madame Ganna Walska and we were treated to historical insights into her extraordinary life.  Madame Walska had a keen insight and love of extraordinary and unusual plants and partnered with world renowned landscape architects and local area experts of her time in the development of the property.

One of the oldest features is the stunning lemon arbor and one of the newest features is the cactus garden, which is so unreal it feels as if you are in another world. The single blossoms were captivating in the Japanese Garden and the single and double blossoms were breathtaking in the Water Garden. A symbol of enlightenment, the tall lotus shoots up from the murky bottom of the pond to several feet above the water, blooming for only three days.

Our tour ended at a reception at the former residence of Madame Ganna Walska, a little house under the trees. The smell of plumeria blossoms wafted in the air and the soothing gentle bubbling sound of the outdoor patio fountain created an intimate and unforgettable backdrop for the reception that followed. AUSB President Nancy Leffert and AUSB Board of Trustees Chair Victoria Riskin spoke briefly about the upcoming campus grand opening in the fall and to AUSB’s commitment to the continued success of our Alumni Association.

Ganna Walska Lotusland is a 37-acre botanical wonder containing subtropical and tropical plants from around the world. Lotusland is home to several extraordinary collections including rare cycads, cacti, palms and euphorbias.  Additional gardens feature ferns, aloes, succulents, lotuses, waterlillies, and bromeliaeds. Theme gardens include the blue garden, theatre garden, butterfly garden and a Japanese garden.  Lotusland incorporates the principles of sustainability into the preservation and maintenance of its extraordinary plant collections.

Madame Ganna Walska, a well-known Polish opera singer and socialite, purchased the estate in 1941 and spent the next 43 years of her life designing unusual display gardens with exotic plants. In creating Lotusland, Madame Walska experimented freely with bold forms and unusual color combinations.  After Madame Walska’s death in 1984, Lotusland became a nonprofit educational institution and opened to the public in 1993. Visit their website for more information at

Photos by Bill Dewey