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Adieu to our UCOP colleagues retiring at month’s end

Parties, countdowns and farewell speeches abound as a number of our colleagues prepare to take their leave at the end of the month and move on to the next phase of their lives: retirement!

Link sat down with four long-term UC employees who are retiring after a whopping 147 combined years of service: Nancy Capell, Shelley Dommer, Andy Evangelista and Sandy Vinson. Everyone got a little nostalgic about the past, including life B.U.C. (Before UC); it turns out that Dommer and Vinson went to Mt. Diablo High School together.

All four will be hard at work for another eight days, tidying up for their successors before turning in their badges June 27. Be sure to stop by to say hello, goodbye, and thanks for their dedicated service to the University of California.

Nancy Capell: Ethics, Compliance and Audit Services (40 years)

Systemwide policy director Nancy Capell has been cleaning out some old files dating from the 1960s — those thin green carbon copies that were used to archive correspondence before the advent of email, computers and photocopiers.

“If you read these things, you can actually see how thought processes progressed and how decisions were made,” she said. “Email doesn’t endure that way, so we’re losing a little bit of history.”

In 1972 Capell started her freshman year at UC Irvine, where she majored in history. While still a student she took her first UC job as recording secretary for the ASUC–Irvine Anteaters, never knowing that she would spend her entire career here.

She moved into positions at UCI in student affairs, the medical school and academic personnel before coming up north in 1986 to join OP’s Office of Academic Personnel. She transferred to the Policy Office, where she worked on UC’s Statement of Ethical Values and Standards of Ethical Conduct; that role transitioned to the Office of Ethics, Compliance and Audit Services, established in 2007 to report to leadership on UC’s compliance with regulations and policies.

“I’ve worked here my entire life except for one summer job I had as a receptionist at Balboa Moving and Storage,” she says. “After that I decided I never wanted to work in private industry again, and I can’t think of any better life than to have worked for UC.”

Shelley Dommer: Institutional Research (30 years)

Shelley Dommer started her UC career in 1983 as a payroll office supervisor at UC Berkeley, back when the university still issued paper paychecks.

“This was before direct deposit, so people had to go pick up their checks in Sproul Hall, and you got to know everyone,” she says. “We also had to call people to talk to them, so I had great relationships with everyone across the campus.”

Dommer spent her next 20 years between Berkeley and UCOP, working on the new payroll personnel system and the PeopleSoft project, both of which have evolved to become UCPath, the system that will replace UC’s 30-year-old and outdated payroll personnel system.

Now interim manager in Institutional Research (IR), she provides information and analysis to support management, planning and decision-making.

“IR has exposed me to a totally different side of information and data,” Dommer says. “We provided data in HR, but we didn’t do the deep dive and statistical analysis to determine, for example, trends in admissions and doctoral completion rates.”

Her big plans for retirement center around grooming her new miniature Australian shepherd puppy, Fargo, for agility training. But on day one of her newfound free days, she plans to keep it simple.

“I’m just going to meet my husband and Fargo for lunch at Café Rouge, and I’m going to have a glass of wine to celebrate.”

Andy Evangelista: Communications (38 years)

Fresh out of SF State in 1975 with a bachelor’s degree in journalism, Andy Evangelista had several job offers from small town newspapers. But he snapped up a job at UCSF so he could stay in his beloved Bay Area.

“This was the post-Watergate era, and journalism was noble and popular,” Evangelista says. “I wanted to go out and do something that would contribute to society, so I fully intended to go back to newspaper work.

But working for UC was noble, too. He started out managing student publications, then moved through a series of communications jobs in UCSF’s public affairs office, including media relations, research writing and magazine and web editing.

It was in 2005 that he came to OP in HR and Benefits communications (when he still wore a tie to work), then moved back into research writing in Communications. As research communications coordinator, he plays a key role in UC Research, the website launched in 2011 to spotlight UC’s cutting-edge research, as well as planning and producing communications for OP research units.

Even in retirement, he says he’ll still get up at 5 a.m. He looks forward to refereeing more basketball games and spending time with his new grandson, born just last month. His parting wish is that the campuses cultivate greater appreciation for what goes on in the systemwide office.

“My friends at campuses sometimes ask me what we do here at UCOP,” Evangelista says. “I tell them that the people here work really hard every day, behind the scenes, to support everything they do on the campuses. I take a lot of pride in that.”

Sandy Vinson: Laboratory Management (39 years)

“I’m going to miss my colleagues, the day-to-day interaction, and the daily communications about what’s happening at the labs,” says Sandy Vinson, director of contracts and administration in Laboratory Management.

She started her UC career in 1974, as one of only three women buyers at Lawrence Livermore National Lab. Vinson moved to OP in 1997 to support UC’s multibillion-dollar U.S. Department of Energy contracts to manage the Berkeley, Livermore and Los Alamos national labs, later focusing on the Lawrence Berkeley Lab contract.

“When I first started in the ‘70s, the approach to getting things done was so different,” Vinson says. “You didn’t have to go through as much bureaucracy and as many people as you do now, and ‘back-of-the-envelope’ agreements were common.”

She can’t really retire until after July 4, she says, since she and her husband will be volunteering with the Pleasant Hill Fourth of July Commission to produce the annual fireworks festivities. Next, she’ll keep busy with various home improvement projects and plans for future travel to visit her three sons, who live in southern California, Colorado and Ethiopia.

When her final two days here overlap with her replacement, what will be her first piece of advice? “We have so many balls in the air. I’ll just tell her to breathe.”

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Retirees! Post a comment below to tell us your story or share your parting wish for your UCOP colleagues.

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