Bidding farewell to staff colleagues

Group photo of new retirees with Chancellor Blumenthal.

Photo of new retiree Sue Grimes with other retiring staff.

Photo of Chancellor Blumenthal and retiree Susie Bower.

It was all smiles at the reception for new retirees, including Sue Grimes, middle, and Susie Bower, lower.

I'll admit it: Every time a long-serving colleague retires, I feel devastated. Last year, my executive assistant Maurene Catto retired. This year's wave of retirees includes several staff members with whom I've worked closely over many years, including campus counsel Carole Rossi, sexual harassment officer Rita Walker, budget director Karen Eckert, and campus spokesman Jim Burns. Of course, for each of these, there are many other new retirees I don't know well or perhaps have never met.

The truth is, there is always turnover. It's the natural way of things. I'm happy for this fresh crop of retirees. And I'm happy the campus has benefited from their dedication, talent, and service (though I wonder why they're leaving so soon. After all, I recently began my 43rd year on campus!).

Whether someone works behind the scenes, as Karen Eckert did for more than 30 years, or in front of the television cameras as Jim Burns did, each individual makes a difference on this campus. And it's gratifying that many retired staff stay connected to the university. One group—the UC Santa Cruz Retirees Association—has just endowed a scholarship program for students who are military veterans. The endowment honors the memory of long-time staff member Bruce Lane, a project architect who was hired by founding chancellor Dean McHenry.

That endowment is a testament to the generosity and big hearts of the entire Banana Slug family. Congratulations to our newest retirees! Soon enough we'll be greeting newcomers who will follow in their footsteps. It is the way of things.

Comments or questions? Write to and put "Retirees" in the subject line