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Retirees leave a rich and varied legacy behind at UCOP


Fred Takemiya, senior counsel for educational affairs and campus services in the Office of the General Counsel (OGC), joined UCOP in 1978. Those were the days when the whole office would shut down and head out for lunch at Fenton’s Creamery on Piedmont Avenue.

Thirty-three years later — having argued cases before the Ninth Circuit, the California Supreme Court and the California Courts of Appeal, as well as a number of jury trials — Takemiya closed out his UCOP career.

He served nine different chancellors as chief counsel for the Riverside and Santa Cruz campuses. His clients included the Agriculture and Natural Resources Division and Academic Senate committees throughout the UC system.

“Fred has always been a steady, calm, thoughtful voice of reason. We have been lucky to have him,” says David Birnbaum, OGC deputy general counsel. “We wish him bon voyage, sunshine and lots of drinks with umbrellas in them.”


On their July 18 wedding anniversary, Jim and Mona Litrownik will mark not only their 36th year of married life together; they’ll also be celebrating their recent, mutual retirement from UCOP after a combined 65 years of service to the university.

Instead of commuting into downtown Oakland together from their Montclair home, then going their separate ways — Jim to Franklin and Mona to Kaiser — there will be new to-do lists and new pursuits. On her first day of retirement, Mona plans to sleep in.

“I’ve had to get up every morning at 6 a.m. for the past 30 years, so to me that will be a huge luxury.” She’s also eyeing ukulele lessons, daytime trips to San Francisco museums and more frequent visits with their two kids. Jim is planning their family trip to Italy and foresees lots of cooking, possibly some volunteer work as a math tutor.

UCOP HR retirees plus Jim Litrownik

Jim Litrownik (with beard), who retired from Academic Personnel, accompanied his wife to the Human Resources retirement party. Also celebrating were HR retirees (from left) Bruce Goya, Mona Litrownik and Kristine Einstoss. (Click photo to enlarge.)

The Litrowniks met nearly 40 years ago in college and married shortly before Jim started graduate studies in educational psychology at Berkeley and Mona began law school at Hastings. At the time, Jim was doing research at Berkeley and UCSF, and Mona was working as an attorney. But they landed separately at UCOP, Jim on the academic side and Mona on the administrative, and here they stayed. Until now.

“The university has a way of making people feel comfortable,” Mona says, “and the arrangement has certainly been convenient for us.” Jim adds: “But what has been most compelling about working for UC is the people — they are smart, involved and dedicated.”


In her 38 years at the University of California, Barbara Lester 
progressed from assistant accountant at UC Berkeley to director of Corporate Accounting 
in UCOP’s CFO Division. Now a retiree, she looks forward to having a completely new routine, traveling and tackling some home repair projects.

“Learn as much as you can from all the expert people you are working with.” Barbara advises the UC colleagues she is leaving behind. “Expand your knowledge, be willing to change and be patient with everyone.”

Through a variety of different jobs at the university, Barbara has enjoyed serving as a resource for her UC colleagues. She is most proud of developing a new corporate financial reporting system, now used systemwide to facilitate year-end financial reporting.

CFO 2011 retirees

The CFO Division lost six of its staff in one fell swoop when they all retired at the end of June. They include (from left) Jorge Ohy, Sharon Culpepper, Nancy Soe, Barbara Lester and Mike O’Neill. Ginny Blumberg (not pictured) also retired. (Click photo to enlarge.)

“I’ll miss all the contacts I made with people on the campuses and here at UCOP,” Barbara says. “I’ve gotten a lot of good ideas from them and they’ve really helped me. I hope I’ve reciprocated.”


These vignettes portray just a few of UCOP’s 2011 retirees, some of whom went out with a whisper and others with a bang. Following is a list of those who elected this year to close out the UC chapter of their lives, most of whom retired at the end of June. We wish them all a fulfilling retirement and offer our heartfelt thanks for their nearly 700 years of cumulative service:

  • Gil Acevedo (24): Manager, Information Resources and Communications
  • John Adams (14): Principal Data Processing Production Coordinator, Information Resources and Communications
  • Phyllis Baker (17):  Executive assistant, California Digital Library
  • Maria Barros-Lee (35): Executive secretary, External Relations
  • Ginny Blumberg (13): Accountability manager, Business Resource Center
  • Bob Brandiff (33): Technical specialist, California Digital Library
  • Chet Burgess (11): Manager, Information Resources and Communications
  • Joe Chu (19): Programmer/analyst, Information Resources and Communications
  • Jim Cooper (24): Programmer/analyst, Information Resources and Communications
  • Sharon Culpepper (13): Executive assistant, Financial Accounting
  • Kristine Einstoss (27): Coordinator, Benefits Programs and Strategy
  • Bill Eklund (30): Senior Counsel, Litigation, Labor and Employment
  • Lea Francisco (33): Administrative analyst, Retirement Administration Service Center
  • Bruce Goya (30): Coordinator, Benefits Programs and Strategy
  • Sharon Haines (20): Programmer/analyst, Information Resources and Communications
  • Lloyd Lee (25): Senior counsel, Business and Land Use
  • Barbara Lester (38): Director, Corporate Accounting
  • Jim Litrownik (35): Coordinator, Academic Personnel
  • Mona Litrownik (30): Coordinator, HR Policies
  • Jorge Ohy (29): Director, Costing Policy and Analysis
  • Myron Okada (33): Manager, Labor Relations
  • Mike O’Neill (30): Director, Payroll Coordination and Tax Service
  • Martha Pruitt (35): Senior analyst, Retirement Administration Service Center
  • Susan Gee Rumsey (23): Principal publications coordinator, NRS
  • Nancy Soe (26): Payroll supervisor, Business Resource Center
  • Fred Takemiya (33): Senior counsel, Educational Affairs and Campus Services

For more stories about this year’s UC retirees, see Anne Wolf’s story in the June issue of Our University.

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