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The ‘Queen of Dwinelle’ steps down
After nearly 30 years, Ann Juell of ETS hangs up her spurs

| 03 December 2003

 



Sitting pretty in her classic 1973 Citroën (which rolled off the assembly line the same year she began working at Berkeley), Ann Juell prepares to drive off into the sunset — and a very busy retirement.
Wendy Edelstein photo

When Ann Juell started her undergraduate work at Berkeley, John F. Kennedy was president, and the Beatles hadn’t yet invaded America. Ten years later, when she finally completed her B.A., Richard Nixon was in office and the Beatles had been broken up for three years. “There was a lot happening on the campus — and in life in general — from 1963 to ’73,” explains Juell. “So it took me a while.”

The same year she graduated with her degree in art history, Juell began working on campus. On Jan. 2, 2004, the nearly always chipper, much-loved 59-year-old will end her long tenure at the university when she retires from her position as an administrative specialist in Educational Technology Services (ETS).

Juell’s campus employment began with Information Systems, where in 1973 the mainframe computers resided. “It was the best time to be here,” she recalls. “You talk about nerds inheriting the world — this was a bunch of wild, wacky people.” She worked as the unit’s documentation librarian — “a fuzzy title for a very fuzzy person” — for three years, until its management changed and put the kibosh on fun. “People think that if you’re having a good time you’re not getting your work done,” observes Juell, “but that’s just a bad attitude.”

In her search for more friendly pastures, she saw an ad for a media assistant the Television Office had posted. That was 27 years ago. Since then, that unit’s name has changed (to Educational Technology Services) to keep pace with the technology it employs to meet the university’s teaching and learning needs. In the intervening years, Juell’s role has evolved as well. She handles hiring processes, personnel actions, benefits counseling, payroll, and recharge and income activity.

From her desk on the ground floor of Dwinelle Hall, Juell has a view of Strawberry Creek — if she stands up. And with 30 years at the university, she has a perspective as well on how Berkeley has changed. “The mood on the campus now is much more serious,” says Juell. “It’s taken a turn for the corporate, and it doesn’t feel much like a school any more; it feels like a business.”

Juell contrasts the current atmosphere at Berkeley with that of her undergraduate years, aka “the golden age of activism.” She recalls a time when people were outraged and willing to fight for such issues as free speech and the rights of women and people of color. “Now, some of the biggest horrors that I’ve seen perpetrated on the world are happening and nobody’s doing anything” says Juell. “Students aren’t taking to the streets. They’re not even taking to Sproul Plaza.”

Going out on a high note
Nearly four years ago, Juell noticed that her job was becoming increasingly tied to technology. “I’m not a technological person,” she acknowledges, so she started “punching in the numbers” to see when the time would be right to retire. Since the payoff wouldn’t have been much more had she waited until she turned 60, she decided the time was right.

She’s going out on a high note. Last month, Juell was awarded her second Distinguished Staff Award. “I was very touched and honored by the award and what they picked out to say about me,” she says. “This one was different [from the first] because it was for the entire body of work I’d performed over the years.”

Her first Distinguished Staff Award came in 1993, in recognition of her efforts, as Dwinelle Hall’s building coordinator, to organize an emergency-preparedness and safety plan in a building famous for its labyrinthian layout and its then-19 disparate academic departments and two service units. It was during those days that she gained the sobriquet “the queen of Dwinelle.”

The most recent award honors Juell’s pivotal role as a building liaison during Dwinelle Hall’s reconstruction, and her dedication to such groups as the Campus Safety Committee and the Berkeley Staff Assembly, and efforts and events like Staff Appreciation Day (Cal Fest). Juell also instituted the popular “Be a Star” videotaping in ETS that is part of the campuswide Take Our Children to Work Day. The award recognizes the extra effort Juell has put into personnel and benefits counseling at ETS, where her job has grown along with the now 40-person department.

Treacy Malloy, a senior administrative analyst in the Office of Emergency Preparedness, notes that Juell’s advocacy efforts on behalf of emergency preparedness on the campus predate her office’s existence. “Since the inception of the Emergency Management Area Coor-dinator program,” says Malloy, “Ann has been one of the leaders of this effort, too. She is one of those rare, ‘can do’ people,” Malloy continues, “who tackles everything she does with friendly enthusiasm and collegiality.”

Peter Kerner, former director of the Office of Media Services, who worked with Juell for 25 years, concurs. “Through Ann Juell’s individual efforts, power of persuasion, and sincere charm she has molded the diverse collection of Dwinelle Hall occupants into an extended family with common interests and resolve,” he says.

Though Juell doesn’t have a plan for retirement, in her own way, she is prepared. “I’m an air sign,” she says by way of explanation, “I have a list, and that’s good enough for me.” That list, however, is fairly prodigious: it includes making digital movies, training and working as a docent in the Asian Art Museum’s Brundage Collection, taking astronomy and geology classes through UC Extension, and sewing and knitting. Juell and her husband also are actively involved in the Citroen Car Club as well as the California Bluegrass Association.

As long-time bluegrass fans, they began attending the CBA’s annual festival in Grass Valley 30 years ago. Juell decided to volunteer for the organization in 2001. “It opened up a whole new world for me,” she reports. “It was like my experience on campus. If you stay in your own unit and grind away at the same thing, you don’t know anything about the campus. You’ve got to join things,” she concludes, “and get to be a part of the larger picture.”