Berdahls honor retired faculty, staff

By Fernando Quintero, Development Communications



Left: Irene Katsumoto, a former dean’s assistant in chemistry, visits with Chancellor Berdahl at a University House reception for newly retired faculty and staff hosted by the Berdhals. Right: Nancy Swearengen,recently retired UC Botanical Garden volunteer services coodinator, chats with Peg Berdahl about the University House gardens.
Peg Skorpinski photos

12 September 2001 | After 15 years of service to the campus, mostly as a program manager for Information Systems & Technology, Claire Le Donne was ready to play bridge and break in her new set of golf clubs.

Then she got a grant from the Carnegie Mellon Foundation to examine issues of digital versus print journals for use in the campus libraries.

Sophie Souroujon worked for 24 years and four chancellors before she decided to retired from the chancellor’s office.
Now, she is auditing classes and attending poetry readings and noon concerts on campus.

Le Donne and Souroujon were typical examples of newly retired Berkeley faculty and staff members, who gathered at University House Sept. 5 for a reception held in their honor by Chancellor and Mrs. Berdahl.

“You never really retire from the university,” Chancellor Berdahl told those in attendance. “You will continue to be associated with Berkeley long after you leave.”

Gone, it seems, are the days when retirees would spend their golden years traveling across the country in an RV or out fishing on a placid lake. Instead, many retired staff and faculty take advantage of the bounty of activities and resources at Berkeley.

“I think it’s important not to take what we have here for granted,” said Souroujon between bites of smoked salmon stacked on cucumber slices — one of many treats served to the guests of honor.

“I’ve been fortunate to have worked in such a beautiful and stimulating place,” she said. “Now, I’m looking forward to retiring in such a beautiful and stimulating place.”

Le Donne said she couldn’t imagine not coming back to campus.
“I think most people who work at the university find that the Cal connection is never broken,” she said. “We’re like the silent majority. Even though we’re not officially campus employees anymore, our presence is definitely here.”

Larry Waldron, policy board chair of the UC Berkeley Retirement Center, also welcomed the recently retired faculty and staff and introduced center staff. Shelley Glazer, center director, outlined the many programs and services available at the center. The center offers e-mail and Internet accounts; fitness programs; tours; campus walks and a resource library.

A variety of academic classes are also offered through the center’s Learning in Retirement program. Additional classes, in areas such as computer training, are also provided.

“We’ve had 600-700 retirees go through computer classes,” said Glazer. “Our oldest student was 92, so there are no excuses for coming back to campus to learn how to use the computer.”


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