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Time to move on: UCOP retirees get ready to take their leave

It’s retirement season again, and the countdowns, reminiscences and party invitations have begun. Many retirements are timed on or around July 1, which is when the new fiscal year begins and a financial incentive for retirees kicks in.

When a number of our UCOP colleagues take their leave in the coming weeks, among them will be three familiar faces who together have accumulated exactly 100 years of UC service: Director of Institutional Research Kathleen Dettman, Senior Mail Processor Gordon Jeong, and ITS Web Development Manager Carla Raffetto.

Read their stories — and the details of their retirement parties — below. If you are also retiring, please feel free to use the comment section to let your OP colleagues know about your retirement celebration!

Kathleen Dettman (32 years of service)

“The people here are really talented and fun; they are what attracted me to this job in the first place,” Kathleen Dettman says, describing her path to OP in 2008 from UC Santa Cruz, where she got her B.A. in marine biology and worked in both research and administration.

It was her “dream job” researching seabirds in the Channel Islands that inspired her to become more efficient at organizing information. “In those days, we recorded each bird sighting on a separate page; when a shelf full of binders fell off the wall and nearly buried me, I knew there had to be a better way.”

Dettman has been seeking a better way ever since, developing information systems and tools to help organize financial, enrollment and other institutional data into “decision support systems,” which assure quality, validity, consistency and accessibility of information as well as help increase the effectiveness of business processes and decision making across UC.

Her plan was to retire, until an offer to do similar work at Stanford proved too good to refuse. But she will be moving back to the south bay and her home full-time in Santa Cruz, where her husband, mom, three sisters, two daughters and two grandchildren await, along with the 50 heirloom tomato plants she hasn’t had time to plant.

Celebrate with Dettman at her party, Thursday, May 24, 2 to 4 p.m. in Franklin Lobby 1.


Gordon Jeong (28 years of service)

The year was 1984. David Gardner was UC President, and OP was located at University Hall on the Berkeley campus. Hired as an “odd jobber” for the Division of Library Automation (now the California Digital Library), Gordon Jeong did everything from photocopying to running overdue books up to Doe Library and driving professors to the airport.

“I was always running around doing different things,” Jeong says. He moved with OP to Kaiser in 1989 and then to Franklin in 1998. Although the places have changed, there has been one constant throughout his UC career. That’s the mail.

“I never applied for a job handling the mail but just sort of ended up that way,” he says. “It’s the nature of the job to meet and talk to people and get to know who and where everyone is; and I really enjoy that. The people are what I’m going to miss the most.”

There can’t be more than a handful of people in OP’s Oakland offices who don’t know him, and even fewer who don’t know he’s retiring. When his days are free, he plans to take up birdwatching and hopes to do more traveling to his favorite spot, Maui, where he’s been 17 times.

Join Jeong and his mother Helen at his retirement celebration Wednesday, June 20, 3 to 5 p.m. in Franklin’s 5th floor rooftop garden.


Carla Raffetto (40 years of service)

She started as a clerk in the UCSF storehouse at Richmond Field Station in 1972, while working on her B.A. in psycholinguistics at Cal. In a series of promotions, Carla Raffetto twice moved into her bosses’ positions when they retired, and she kept on moving up.

“I’ve had a wonderful career at UC, and I’ve never been bored,” says the Palo Alto native, whose parents were Stanford grads. “Connecting back to my degree in linguistics, I have been a translator my entire career. I listen to your needs and translate them to a developer who can create an application that will make your life easier.”

It was when Materiel Management developed an application for tracking equipment and supplies that her job morphed into computing. Raffetto found herself keypunching cards to feed into a Data General minicomputer in Berkeley’s Banway Building. Then, when the Web came along in 1995, she adapted again, learning how to convert content from paper to HTML, then how to develop applications.

In retirement she plans to do some traveling and remodel the kitchen of her Moraga home. But she’s giving herself a year to learn the meaning of being able to do “anything I want, whenever I want.”

Don’t miss Raffetto’s retirement party (RSVP here) Friday, June 1, 4 to 6 p.m. at the Oakland Marriott Hotel Skyline Room.


Retirees! Don’t forget to post a reply below about your retirement plans or party.

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