Retiree Spotlight

1938 Fox Theatre

Katherine (Kit) Spikings

-What was your position at UCLA?
Assistant Director, Alumni Travel (Alumni Association - External Affairs).

-What is your favorite memory from UCLA?
The opportunity to receive my BA in History and walk in graduation ceremonies in 1994, all the while working full time in the Financial Aid Office. Being a non-traditional student in my 40's and graduating close to 50, is a gift and memory I will never forget.

-What do you miss most about UCLA?
I miss my daily routine and structure that my work-life gave me. Granted, in retirement, you begin to create a new routine and structure, but, it is not the same as your day-to-day work environment and I still miss that, six months into retirement. A work in progress.

-What advice do you have for those about to retire or already retired?
Continue to live your life, with a grateful heart each passing day, and recreating your new "normal" in retirement. Make sure you do everything with a passionate and loving heart and know you have more choices in your life in ways you spend your days. Always remain active, involved and in love.

-Since your retirement, what have you accomplished that you were not able to while working, or what do you hope to accomplish in your retirement?
There are so many amazing volunteer options and venues within the confines of UCLA. I wanted to do so many more but time was always an issue. Since retirement, I have begun to volunteer more.

-How do you keep connected to UCLA?
I did quite a bit of volunteering during my years being employed, but since retirement have now been able to spend more time volunteering. I volunteer in our RR UCLA Hospital, and in the Memory Care Unit at the West Los Angeles VA. Operation Mend, and the Venice Family Clinic volunteer program in the Children's Literacy program/endeavors. I have also now had the time to partake in my love of working with children, teaching after school religious education classes at my Church, St. Paul the Apostle as well. UCLA will continue to be an all-encompassing place to me and in my life and what greater gift can I ask for in my retirement to give back to all that UCLA has given me.

-Define fulfillment in retirement.
Fulfillment in retirement to me is the ability to do what makes you happy, what gives you a sense and a purpose in life, and, all the while, doing it with a passion that never ceases. If one can master this in retirement, you will always be at peace and happy. I know, I am, and, I keep trying to find new ways and opportunities to fulfill these needs.

Angel Appleton

Angel Appleton
Hometown: Los Angeles




What was your position at UCLA?
I retired from UCLA as a Senior Administrative Analyst Supervisor in Contract and Grant Administration, but I also worked in School of Nursing, School of Medicine and Biobehavioral Sciences.

What is your favorite memory from UCLA?
The beautiful campus 

What do you miss most about UCLA?
All my friends, coworkers and especially students

How do you keep connected to UCLA?

I am lucky to live in Westwood, I have joined the UCLA Retiree Association, attend events at the James Bridges Melnitz Theatre during academic year and attend many other campus events

What advice do you have for those about to retire or already retired?

- make certain to have a good pension plan for a comfortable retirement,
- if possible own your own home or condo,
- prepare estate planning and living will,
- exercise and keep fit to enjoy the benefits of hard work

Since your retirement, what have you accomplished that you were not able to while working, or what do you hope to accomplish in your retirement?
For many years I was unable to travel and visit my family due to annual on-going financial management deadlines and responsibilities. Now I am able to travel and see my extended family more often.

I would like to create a family tree as my ethnic background is Mexican from Mesoamerican which is similar to Native American indigenous peoples.

Define fulfillment in retirement.
Just be happy, healthy, optimistic and enjoy life.

Jacqueline Cogdell DjeDje

Jacqueline Cogdell DjeDje

Hometown: West Los Angeles

 

 

Q.  What was your position at UCLA?
I joined the UCLA faculty in July 1979 as an assistant professor in the Department of Music. When the music department split into three different departments (Ethnomusicology, Music, and Musicology) in 1987-88, I became a faculty member in the Department of Ethnomusicology and remained there (as Associate Professor and Full Professor) through my retirement in June 2013. In addition to teaching, I held several positions within the ethnomusicology department: Director of the Ethnomusicology Archive (July 2000-June 2007), Acting Department Chair (January-June 2003), and Department Chair (July 2005-December 2010). 

Q.  What is your favorite memory of working at UCLA?
There are so many memories that it is difficult to limit it to just one. But the most rewarding was helping students reach their full potential as scholars and researchers. To my surprise and amazement, many of them appreciated my efforts (later in life), even though they complained harshly while working on their degrees. Additionally, I was overjoyed when my students and colleagues (around the country) honored me with a festschrift that was formally presented to me in March 2013, right before my retirement.  

Q.  What do you miss most about UCLA?
I came to UCLA as a graduate student in 1970. Therefore, many changes have transpired over the 40+ years that I was a student and faculty member. To that end, I enjoyed walking around various parts of the campus at different points during the school year to see the new buildings, landscaping, students, etc. I miss the beauty of the campus as well as the energy and the vitality that I often experienced when I took those walks.  

Q.  How do you keep connected with UCLA?
My husband and I regularly attend music and other cultural events on campus – especially concerts in Royce and exhibits and programs in the Fowler and Hammer museums.   

Q.  What advice do you have for people who are about to retire or just retired?
Take your time in deciding what you want to do and how you should proceed. If you become bored or frustrated with one activity, don’t give up if it is important to you. Take a little time off and return to it when you’re ready. 

Q.  Since retiring, what have you accomplished or wish to accomplish that was not possible (or eluded you or passed you by) when you were working?
Taking swimming classes so that I could become a more competent swimmer; taking long walks throughout my neighborhood (almost on a daily basis); spending more quality time with my grandchildren; and gradually bringing long-term research projects to closure.  

Define fulfillment in retirement…
Being able to appreciate the simple things in life, and doing “whatever” you want to do “when” you want to do it.  

 

Sandra Allen

Sandra Allen

Hometown: West Los Angeles

 

Q.  What was your position at UCLA?
I joined UCLA in July 1976 as Associate Director to reorganize all the printing, publications, printing plant and six copy centers which were scattered around Campus.  We named the new entity Publication Services.  I resigned after three years to move to Chicago when my husband was to be transferred.  It never happened, we fortunately never had to leave Los Angeles. After some time off I turned to Campus and worked for several months in the Central Ticket Office.  I joined the Jules Stein Eye Institute in January 1981 working mainly as Administrator of the Basic Science Group.  I retired in October 1993.

Q.  What is your favorite memory of working at UCLA?
Being a huge basketball fan (season ticket holder for over 35 years) attending the 1995 NCAA Playoffs in Seattle, our last basketball championship, was memorable and an event I will never forget.

Q.  What do you miss most about UCLA?
I enjoyed working with Students and Faculty on many levels.  Their curiosity, intelligence, humor, and points of view were a constant delight.

Q.  How do you keep connected with UCLA?
I seem to be on Campus every day – for personal reasons – doctor appointments, using the Gym at the Wooden Center part of the year and swimming in the Olympic pool at Sunset Canyon during the warm months.  Besides the Emeriti/Retirees Relations Center, I am a member of Faculty Women, The Affiliates (interviewing Medical Students for scholarship funds), volunteer work for The Stein Eye Institute (vision screening for pre-school children).

Q.  What advice do you have for people who are about to retire or just retired?
Find something you really enjoy doing either on Campus or elsewhere and do it!

Q.  Since retiring, what have you accomplished or wish to accomplish that was not possible (or eluded you or passed you by) when you were working?
I was able to travel – my favorite thing – much more than when I was working. Unfortunately due to medical problems I don’t travel anymore. I miss it, but am grateful and treasure all my adventures.

Define fulfillment in retirement…
Take every day as a blessing.  Enjoy being relaxed and able to spend time with family and friends.

 

John Campbell

My name is John Campbell. I live on the border of Santa Monica within walking distance of UCLA now that time is my own.

 

Q: What was your position at UCLA?
I joined the department of Anatomy in 1964. By the time I retired the department had undergone several crises of identity ending up as the Department of Neurobiology.  So, I am a professor of Neurobiology, a subject I know little about.

Since 1994 I have been teaching one semester of anatomy each year at the University of Western Australia.

Q: What is your favorite memory of working at UCLA?
Teaching a freshman honors course in philosophy after retiring.

Q: What do you miss most about UCLA?
The lively discussions over dinner at Bill Schopf’s Weekly Evening Evolution Group (WEEG)

Q: How do you keep connected with UCLA?
I have an office for writing but my main contacts are through the UCLA Emeriti Association: the newsletter, art shows, First Fridays, arranged talks, excursions and staff help and courtesies.

Q: What advice do you have for people who are about to retire or just retired?
A folk song laments:

     “The ways of man are passing strange
      He buys his freedom and counts his change
      Then he asks the wind his day to arrange
      and he calls the tide his master.”

I lament anyone delaying their retirement for the sake of two or three extra percent of fat in their pension if they delay, or accepting that retiring at 65 is just the way it is.

Q: Since retiring, what have you accomplished or wish to accomplish that was not possible (or eluded you or passed you by) when you were working?
I am now working out and writing up three radical, perhaps overly radical, scientific ideas that I put aside while I was working.

Define fulfillment in retirement...
After retirement time gets divided for four purposes.

1. Maintenance – looking after ones’ self, home, etc.
2. Duty - to family, perhaps continuing professional obligations, and so forth.
3. Passion – for activities or causes that you devote yourself to; painting, learning French, volunteering, or whatever.
4. Enjoyment - Working out the day’s crossword puzzle reading a murder novel or watching a favorite TV program just for pleasure.

Fulfillment in retirement comes from getting right the balance among these usages of time.

Noelle Parker

Noelle Parker
Hometown: Rockhampton, Queensland, Australia


Q: What was your position at UCLA?
Registered Nurse (last position was in Physician Referral Service) the 1 800 825 2631 number. 

Q: What is your favorite memory of working at UCLA?
Working for Student Health, I loved dealing with the students

Q: What do you miss most about UCLA?
The camaraderie

Q: How do you keep connected with UCLA?
I remain friends with past employees and with quite a few who are still employed by UCLA

Q: What advice do you have for people who are about to retire or just retired
Always have a sense of fun, do some charitable work and stay connected

Q: Since retiring, what have you accomplished or wish to accomplish that was not possible (or eluded you or passed you by) when you were working?
I belong to a charitable organization that is able to help children less fortunate and I love to travel especially to my home country Australia

Define fulfillment in retirement…..
I retired about six years ago, but was able to relieve the nurses who went on Vacation. I miss working, but am happy to say I have wonderful friends and I seem to be able to keep myself busy and I am happy and extremely glad I was employed by UCLA.

 

Audree Fowler

Audree Fowler

Q.  What is your favorite memory of working at UCLA?
Basketball games in the old men’s gym.

Q.  What do you miss most about UCLA?
Nothing – I have never left!

Q.  How do you keep connected with UCLA?
In many ways, I enjoy participating with the Molecular Biology Institute and serving on the board of directors of Women & Philanthropy.  Additionally, I serve on the  executive board of Design for Sharing and the Iris Cantor UCLA Women’s Health Center, and I volunteer at the Santa Monica Pier Aquarium—formerly the UCLA Ocean Discovery Center.

Q.  What advice do you have for people who are about to retire or just retired?
Keep active.

Q.  Since retiring, what have you accomplished or wish to accomplish that was not possible (or eluded you or passed you by) when you were working?
I can give back to UCLA since it made my life fun and active.

Note from the ERRC:  It should be noted that Researcher Emeritus Fowler has demonstrated her devotion to the College of Letters and Science again by establishing the Audree V. Fowler Graduate Fellowship in Protein Science, to be administered by the Molecular Biology Institute.  Since 2008 seventeen graduate students have been recipients of Fowler Fellowships. 

Gloria Nathanson

My name is Gloria Nathanson and I live in Northridge, California

I am honored to be selected to be a spotlighted retiree. However, I recently sat next to another retiree at a San Fernando Valley UCLARA program and we exchanged what we have been doing since retiring. On hearing from me, he said, “You flunked retirement!” I always kept a multi-tasked life during my years at UCLA and am fortunate enough to be able to continue to do so. 

Q.  What was your position at UCLA?
I was Associate Director for Undergraduate Admission and Relations with Schools. During my full time career, I managed the operations of the department which included both domestic and international admission. After my “first retirement”, I continued as a member of the senior staff, responsible for the recruitment publications, international admission and other related responsibilities.

Q.  What is your favorite memory of working at UCLA?
I have several favorite memories. Working with my wonderful colleagues in admissions, which included Vu Tran, Kathleen O’Kane, Rae Lee Siporin, and the many staff in the department, is an important and rewarding memory. The international facet of my position was very exciting and stimulating, resulting in friends and colleagues from around the U.S. and the world. It also led to many new international activities in my retirement.

Q.  What do you miss most about UCLA?
I miss the interaction with my UCLA colleagues. I still maintain friendships with some. 

Q.  How do you keep connected with UCLA?
I am still involved in international education and admission via the national professional organization for registrars and admissions officers (AACRAO) and have occasion to communicate with UCLA colleagues regarding projects I have done. I also keep track of the sports teams and use several physicians in the medical center. I attend programs offered by UCLARA when I am able, especially those given in the San Fernando Valley. 

Q.  What advice do you have for people who are about to retire or just retired?
Keep your mind and body healthy and active. Find new avenues you enjoy in which to participate and keep in touch with family and friends. 

Q.  Since retiring, what have you accomplished or wish to accomplish that was not possible (or eluded you or passed you by) when you were working?
I serve on a Board of Directors for a company in Texas, established by a retired colleague from the University of Texas, which does work in international education and evaluation. I also am active in AACRAO and was appointed by their board to chair a national task force of 28 colleagues from around the U.S. on international admission and evaluation. The report, which was completed in July, will be distributed to the 9000 AACRAO college and university members.

I started a personal campaign to get our local streets resurfaced, developed a petition for my neighbors to sign, contacted various city personnel, and got it done. Many of my neighbors said it would never happen, but it did. 

I have more time to spend with my family and friends and to travel in and out of the U.S. I have visited places that have been on my “list”, such as Iceland, Panama, and Lake Louise, among others, and just returned from a tour of Mount Rushmore and the Badlands, a lifelong wish. I am also playing my much neglected piano in between.  

Define fulfillment in retirement…
Fulfillment to me is having the freedom to spend time with my children and grandchildren at will, to be able to travel to faraway places, and to participate with friends and family in a variety of activities. Most important - having both the health and ability to enjoy life. 


Seymour Levin

Q.  What was your position at UCLA?
Emeritus Professor of Medicine, UCLA School of Medicine. Consulting and Attending Endocrinologist UCLA School of Medicine and West Los Angeles VA Medical Center  

Q.  What is your favorite memory of working at UCLA?
My favorite memory is joining the faculty to become a colleague and friend with my former great teachers: Bill Blahd, Dave Solomon, Syd Finegold, Lu Guze, Charles Kleeman, Sherman Mellinkoff, and many others.

Q.  What do you miss most about UCLA?
I don’t miss it, since I’m still working there, but not 75 hours/week. 

Q.  How do you keep connected with UCLA?
I still work there, at the Gonda Diabetes Clinic, and attend at the VA Diabetes Clinic, which I directed for 27 years.

Q.  What advice do you have for people who are about to retire or just retired?
Keep your mind and body active.  Do something of service in your community.

Q.  Since retiring, what have you accomplished or wish to accomplish that was not possible (or eluded you or passed you by) when you were working?
I continue to lecture in the School of Medicine, including the Center for Health Sciences, UCLA Harbor, and Cedars Sinai.

I am attempting to begin a career in Electrical Engineering, and have recently published a patent, which is pending, in the field of alternative energy, entitled: “Small Turbines in Water Reclamation Facilities for the Generation of Electricity”.

Define fulfillment in retirement…
If you are lucky enough to have children and grandchildren, etc., enjoy them, and spend as much time as you can with them, letting them talk, and give a suggestion once in awhile (e.g. “listen to classical music”). If you are lucky to have a spouse, enjoy the years (hold hands and give a kiss with every chance you get).  Meet new colleagues, including emeriti (recently honored with being appointed to the Academic Senate Committee on Emeriti Affairs), since many have ideas and creative skills from which you can learn.  Keep learning new skills (Enjoy emeriti-sponsored, “First Fridays”, where you’ll learn how to use the new gadgets). If you are lucky enough to have good health, use it wisely---and if time wears away some of it, use what you have, and fulfillment will remain in your emeritus years.

Mary Banks-Levine

My name is Mary Banks-Levine; Culver City is my hometown.

I am truly honored to be the first spotlighted retiree. I happily view retirement as a threshold to a whole new world. As we mature, we focus on getting an education, having a career, having a family, and making schedules with our free time or cramming everything into those few hours off from work. Now that I am on the outside looking in, I can say that it is truly a human race, which I never realized while racing around in it. I simply moved from one event to another, and I enjoyed my work. During those times, I loved watching my children grow into loving, kind, educated, and considerate adults. More than 30 years of employment at UCLA resulted in several enduring friendships. Now that I am retired, my time is my own to use as I wish.

Q. What was your position at UCLA?

My position evolved as did the Radiology Department. I was an X-ray Technologist (term used in the ‘70s) and retired as a Neuro Interventional Radiologic Technologist.

Q. What is your favorite memory of working at UCLA?

I have several. In the ‘70s, we would have fun “Food Days.” We scheduled a midday lunch, and everyone would contribute food items. When the technicians, doctors, residents, fellows, or anyone who worked in that area had a break for lunch, they would fix a plate and visit with one another before returning to work. Also, we often socialized in Westwood Village after work on Friday and sometimes met on a private beach in the Marina during the summer months to play volleyball.

Q. What do you miss most about UCLA?

I miss the way UCLA was. I miss the old days. I miss the name of the hospital--UCLA Center for the Health Sciences (CHS). I miss going to work because I liked my job.

Q. How do you keep connected with UCLA?

I am a member of the UCLA Retirees Association (UCLARA). I served as the Association’s Corresponding Secretary for four years, calling it the lick-and-stick position, because I was responsible for sending out fliers and placing tape and at least one time stamps on them. I have taken advantage of the various events sponsored by UCLARA and enjoyed trips to the Grand Canyon, Hollywood Bowl, and Hoover Dam. The intellectual offerings have been fantastic, as well. Annually, UCLARA hosts a Holiday Party, and the Emeriti/Retirees Relations Center sponsors a picnic, both a great way to reconnect with former friends and meet new ones.

Q. What advice do you have for people who are about to retire or just retired?

My retirement was not exactly planned. Due to unforeseen circumstances, I was unable to continue working. I had physical concerns to address and joined an exercise group, resulting in improved health and activity level.

My advice to those newly retired is to make a list of all the things you would like to do. I find the term “bucket list” depressing, so I refer to it as a “to-do list” (like a grocery list). There are many opportunities, so be open to suggestions. Volunteer, learn a musical instrument, swim, walk, mentor; the list is endless. The key: keep stimulated, active, in touch, and learning.

Q. Since retiring, what have you accomplished or wish to accomplish that was not possible (or eluded you or passed you by) when you were working?

I organized our first Neighborhood Block Party, and this year will be our 15th annual gathering! Through this event, relationships have been fostered, and a true sense of community has been realized.

While eating sushi one day, I noticed a sign announcing the L.A. Temple Obon Festival. I attended and was intrigued by the dancing. Now, years later, I participate in the dance line fully attired in my Kimono. Who knew?

Define fulfillment in retirement...

For me, it is fluidity and mobility. I am able to physically move. I can work on a project, delay it, or skip it. I can schedule lunch dates or volunteer most days without time constraints. I can enjoy being alive.