Photo of Maurene Catto and Gennevie Herbranson

My executive assistant (and the world's biggest Mickey Mouse fan) Maurene Catto, left, celebrates her retirement with Kerr Hall colleagues; Gennevie Herbranson baked that cake herself.

'Tis the season to say good-bye, apparently. University Librarian Ginny Steel is heading to UCLA to oversee their library—a fitting opportunity after all she did here, overseeing the renovation and expansion of McHenry Library, raising funds, and essentially creating a thriving hub at the center of campus. What a lasting and positive legacy she leaves!

Across campus, a number of staff and faculty are retiring this summer, including Vice Chancellor of Research Bruce Margon and my executive assistant Maurene Catto. Saying farewell to these colleagues is a mixed bag, because of course I am happy to celebrate this milestone in their lives. But it's also rough, because each departure marks the end of one era—and the beginning of another.

I hosted a small reception for Bruce last week, which gave me a chance to publicly recognize his accomplishments. Each year during Bruce's seven-year tenure as vice chancellor, the Office of Research has raised more than $100 million in external funds. Bruce's focused pursuit of resources has helped propel faculty research on this campus to new heights, and I know I spoke for many when I thanked him. Bruce's wife Lorraine is a prodigious fundraiser, too. She is the force behind the UCSC Women's Club's annual Chocolate Festival, which funds student scholarships. These two have made lasting contributions to UCSC—and it was a delight to meet their newest family member: their brand new granddaughter, Evelyn. She was an adorable reminder of all that comes with the passage of time.

I know I'll see Bruce around campus as a faculty member, but I expect I'll see less of Maurene, who has provided invaluable support throughout my tenure as chancellor. She is eager to spend time with her husband, kids, and grandchildren, and I can't blame her for that.

Her departure reminds me of the gentle way she broke me in during my early days as chancellor. I remember in particular how I came to own a tuxedo. After my appointment, I resisted my wife's suggestion that I buy a tuxedo (remember, I'm the guy who wore shorts to work for years, and I just couldn't imagine that I'd get much use out of a tux). However, before long an occasion arose for which I'd need a tuxedo. When I asked Maurene to arrange a rental, she didn't miss a beat, saying "We don't need to rent one—you already own a tuxedo!" Sure enough, my wife Kelly had figured out – even before I did — that the best way to get anything done would be to go directly to Maurene. Thanks, Maurene, for all the help over the years!

And you know what? I've worn that tux more times than I can count.

Comments or questions? Write to chancellor@ucsc.edu and put "Farewells" in the subject line.