During this season of love, meet a few GPS alumni who found love before, during or after attending the School
Rachel Hommel | GPS News
At the UC San Diego School of Global Policy and Strategy (GPS), we strive for academic excellence, a global perspective and lifelong connections forged across disciplines and continents. Occasionally, love also finds a way in.
In the spirit of connection, we interviewed a few alumni couples willing to share their stories about what brought them together in the spirit of global citizenry.
Christopher Bush ‘96 and Sandra Bush ‘96
She works as… Girls’ Business and Entrepreneurship Program Director at Annie Wright Schools in Tacoma, Washington – a pre-k-12 International Baccalaureate (IB) school with single gender residential upper schools for girls and boys. Sandra teaches IB business, personal finance and mentors young women interested in all types of business careers, an incredibly meaningful career shift after 15+ years in the financial services industry.
He works as… Executive Director of 20-20 Investment Association in Tacoma, Washington which is a nonprofit association of global financial firms dedicated to exploring the investment climate in emerging markets.
Their family… includes two incredible boys, Lucas, age 16 and Sebastian 13 and share that fall 2019 will be an eventful one, with one child headed off to college and the other to high school!
The proposal happened… on a camping trip in North Carolina, almost exactly five years to the day they met during orientation at GPS. Fitting that it happened on a trip, because traveling has been one of the things the couple has most enjoyed doing together and now as a family.
You never know who you will meet at orientation. Back in 1994, Sandra had the car and Christopher had the skills in the kitchen. The symbiotic relationship grew into a strong friendship, which eventually turned into something more.
“Some people look back on high school as the glory days, others college. For me, it was our time at GPS. I was surrounded by incredibly smart, witty and driven people. And of course, I met Sandra,” recalls Christopher. “We somehow managed to make each other keep a good life-school balance in La Jolla – a skill which helps us enjoy life to the fullest every day.”
After graduation, the duo moved to Washington, D.C. for three years before coming back out West to the Seattle area. The couple is grateful for their experience at GPS, which gave them not only great analytical and academic tools but a truly wonderful community.
“I’m so thankful for the lifelong friendships we formed at GPS,” said Sandra. “Meeting more recent grads at regional events, I am struck by the awesomeness of GPS grads and our common love of travel and exploration! They’re my people.”
Speaking of travel, the couple recently spent a year living in southern Spain…a location they hope to call home, at least part of the year, in the not too distant future.
Steve Bingham ‘91 and Sanae Fujimoto-Bingham ‘92
She works as… an amazing wife, mom, daughter and consultant in Irvine, Calif.
He works as… Cisco Global Sales Road Warrior, based in Irvine, Calif.
Their family… includes two children, their son and daughter, and dog Kobe.
The proposal happened… on a hot air balloon over Carmel Valley in April 1993. At a time when graduates were facing the worst job prospects in two decades, Steve and Sanae found love, having just celebrated their 25th wedding anniversary. The couple met at an intramural flag football game, testing their teamwork. Steve soon asked Sanae to an international animation film festival downtown and that first date became their forever.
“It was a dream to meet at an age where we had backpacks and not suitcases, rusty small cars, student loans, slept on futons and went on cross-country camping road trips for two,” recalls Steve.
For those currently single at GPS, the couple agrees that the School created an ideal environment for meeting the right person – mostly single and multicultural with a good undergraduate degree. They not only found great jobs post-graduation, but a shared passion for international adventure.
“We couldn’t have asked for a better life then and now, better group of friends and acquaintances, and better education to prepare for life and an interconnected world,” said Steve.
Lindsay Vignoles ‘03 and Christopher Vignoles ‘03
She works as… social impact manager at Rodan + Fields, a premium skincare company based in San Francisco, Calif.
He works as…finance director at the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco, Calif.
Their family… includes three children, Santiago, Chloe and Elise.
The proposal happened… in Washington, D.C. overlooking the Lincoln memorial a couple of years after graduating GPS and moving to D.C. to work on the international scene and apply their newly-minted master’s degrees.
A little friendly debate never hurt anyone. The Vignoles family owe a big thanks to Professor Richard Feinberg, since they met in his Latin America class. Christopher shared that he volunteered to work on a project with Lindsay and the rest is history.
“We were both inspired by the GPS mission and liked the focus on the Pacific rim,” said Christopher. “Our favorite GPS memory is slightly faded given our advanced age, but we loved the diversity of classes and all the practical tools we learned and still use to this day.”
With a shared curiosity, sense of adventure and desire to learn, they have always worked as a team. Throughout the years, they continue to place a premium on experiencing and exploring the world with their children, so that they too can be responsible global citizens.
“Success at GPS is all about teamwork and when I met Chris, I got the best teammate at school and in life,” said Lindsay. “He’s the father of our three spirited children and the reason I passed statistics and finance!”