Time, talent, treasure: UC retirees give back to the university
Esperanza Nee, retired director of financial aid at UC Santa Cruz, is still helping students succeed — as a leader of Dreamweavers, a university-community partnership that supports undocumented UC Santa Cruz students.
John Wheeler, professor emeritus of chemistry at UC San Diego, mentors first-generation freshmen and sophomores, helping them navigate through their first two years on campus.
And Audree Fowler, a retired director of the UCLA Protein Micro-sequencing Facility, now volunteers for Design for Sharing, a program of UCLA’s Center for Performing Arts that brings elementary students from Los Angeles public schools to performances. Fowler also annually provides three graduate students with $5,000 fellowships.
They are just three of the hundreds, if not thousands, of UC retirees and emeriti who regularly give their time, talent and treasure back to the university.
Retirees serve as docents at theatrical and music performances, jurors at mock trials, participants in research studies and in countless other ways. Suzan Cioffi, UC San Diego Retirement Center Director, calculates that retiree association members volunteered more than 1,500 hours in fiscal year 2011-12.
Some share their expertise by helping current faculty and staff plan for retirement. At UC Berkeley and UC Davis, the retirement centers offer preretirement planning workshops in conjunction with the campus benefits office. Emeriti and retirees participate in the program, sharing their experiences in the transition to retirement. “This has been extremely well received by faculty and staff thinking of retiring,” said Patrick Cullinane, director of UC Berkeley’s retirement center.
Retirement need not mean the end to teaching and research. More than 400 emeriti continue to teach and conduct research systemwide, according to the Council of UC Emeriti Associations. Roger Glassey, professor emeritus of engineering at UC Berkeley, is one of them. He regularly teaches an undergraduate robotics course. Some years, when the Berkeley budget has been particularly tight, he has taught pro bono. “Berkeley is a great institution and treated me very well,” Glassey said. “I’d like to be part of it and contribute something to it.”
Retirees also contribute to the university financially. The Paul I. Terasaki Life Sciences Building at UCLA and the William R. Pritchard Veterinary Medical Teaching Hospital at UC Davis are two examples of very large financial contributions from retired faculty.
But equally impressive are the vast numbers of retirees and emeriti who make donations of all sizes to UC. More than half of UC Irvine retirees and emeriti make financial gifts to the university, said Jeri I. Fredericks, director of the UC Irvine Center for Retirees. Students at several campuses are the beneficiaries of scholarship and fellowship gifts from retirees, either through formal programs — such as those at UC Santa Cruz and UC San Diego — or individual donations.
For the complete story by Anne Wolf, systemwide coordinator of Internal Communications, visit the UC Newsroom.