This story originally appeared in UCLA Today, a discontinued publication.

In memoriam

Ron Calloway

Ronald Calloway, director of Crafts and Alterations in Facilities Management, died Nov. 25 from cancer at Los Robles Hospital and Medical Center in Westlake Village, Calif. He was 58.

Under his leadership, the old Campus Crafts & Alterations Unit and the CHS Crafts & Alterations Unit merged to form a more efficient Crafts and Alterations Division at UCLA. Calloway superbly directed this division to provide effective building maintenance, rapid response to emergencies, and the timely completion of construction and deferred maintenance projects.

Calloway received his bachelor’s and master’s degrees in industrial engineering from Purdue University. He went on to join the United States Air Force and worked in Diyarbakir, Turkey, and later at Goodfellow Air Force Base, Texas, where he managed a large facilities unit and was promoted eight months later to chief of the Operations and Maintenance Branch.

Calloway came to UCLA in 1986 as an adjunct assistant professor in aerospace studies. He taught classes on communication skills, management theory, and leadership and professional ethics. Calloway retired as captain from the Air Force to take the position as manager of Campus Crafts and Alterations for the UCLA Facilities Management department in 1989.

Calloway was instrumental in implementing Facilities Management’s computerized maintenance management system and its subsequent enhancements and upgrades. His ability to identify potential supervisory and management talent is reflected in the strong organization he left for UCLA.

Calloway’s contributions did not stop at UCLA. Through his Calvary Community Church, he traveled to Biloxi, Miss., with a team that donated their time and energy to rebuilding homes after Hurricane Katrina. He also volunteered for many years working with the children of the church’s Confident Kids support group.

Donations may be made in Calloway’s name to the UCLA Mattel Children’s Hospital.

Sarah Gilfillan

Sarah Gilfillan, associate director of development for the Fowler Museum at UCLA for the last two years, perished in a car accident in Los Angeles on Nov. 18. She was 26 years old.

In her position at the Fowler Museum, she helped raise $1–$2 million dollars annually to support exhibitions, education and public programs, special projects and general museum operations through foundation, corporate and individual solicitations. Additionally, she launched a corporate relations program at the Fowler and supervised an individual membership program, including special events for member cultivation and stewardship. Determined to experience all facets of the museum world, in recent months Gilfillan took on additional duties by providing curatorial support for the upcoming Fowler exhibition “Make Art/Stop AIDS.”

"Sarah was a remarkably smart, talented and ambitious young woman who worked tirelessly for the museum," explained Marla C. Berns, director of the Fowler Museum. "In the two years she was here she made an enormous positive impact, and all of us at the Fowler will always remember her with great admiration and deep affection," said Berns.

Prior to working at the Fowler Museum, Gilfillan held the position of assistant director of corporate relations for the Los Angeles County Museum of Art. Fluent in Spanish and Portuguese, she had extensive experience working and researching in art museums and galleries in Latin America and assisting with exhibition fund-raising and development in Brazil, Mexico and Spain. She received her B.A. with multiple honors from the University of Pennsylvania in 2003, with a major in Hispanic Studies and a minor in the history of art.

Gilfillan is survived by her parents, Liz and Graeme Gilfillan of Pasadena, and her three younger brothers.

The Fowler Museum is establishing a fund in Gilfillan's honor to support the study of the arts of Latin America, one of her abiding passions. Contributions should be made payable to "The UCLA Foundation" and sent to: Lynne Brodhead Clark, Director of Development, Fowler Museum at UCLA, Box 951549, Los Angeles, CA 90095, Attn: Sarah Gilfillan Memorial Fund.

Natalie Limonick

Natalie Limonick, former associate director of the UCLA Opera Workshop, died Dec. 1 at her home in Los Angeles. She was 87.

Throughout her career, Limonick enriched the musical careers of many and made it her mission to take live opera into public grade schools. She dedicated her life to music and would use it as a metaphor in everyday life — including basketball, one of her many passions. "She would anticipate, usually correctly, Shaquille O'Neal's success or failure [at the free throw line] based on whether he breathed into his movement the way a good singer breathes into a phrase," said Limonick's granddaughter, Deborah Berger of New York.

Limonick's journey into the world of music began at age 6. She studied with notable musicians such as Ignace Hilsberg at the Juilliard School in New York and continued with Hilsberg when she moved to Los Angeles. She also studied score-reading with the great Fritz Zweig and composition with Arnold Schoenberg.

At 17 she moved from New York to California by herself to launch her professional career and made her Southern California piano debut in 1942. Two years later, in 1944, she graduated from UCLA with a B.A. in music.

In the early '50s, Limonick became an assistant to Jan Popper, who directed the UCLA Opera workshop. She became acting director of the workshop when Popper went on leave and ultimately headed the workshop herself for many years. During this time, Limonick went beyond educating her college students. She was concerned that appreciation of classical culture was dying in the public school system, and so she took live opera into public grade schools.

She would often ask her dear friend and colleague, Jay Kohorn, "What good is our work here if there are no audiences interested in listening?" So she took live opera — "La Boheme," "Carmen," "The Marriage of Figaro" — into the grade schools and would talk to the students before and after the performances.

For many summers, Limonick taught at the Music Academy of the West in Santa Barbara, where she worked with celebrated singers Lotte Lehmann and Martial Singher. She was one of the first women to coach singers at Bayreuth, Germany, home of the Wagner Festival. Limonick was also a visiting professor at many universities throughout the United States. What distinguished Limonick's playing &mdash whether for singers or instrumentalists — was her uncanny ability to coax orchestral sounds out of the piano, an otherwise percussion instrument, Kohorn said.

In 1974, Limonick became the general director of the opera program at the University of Southern California. She later retired to teach voice and piano privately. According to Kohorn, Limonick was able to teach using metaphors that would enable a student to "transform the phrase in question from one of a working student to the magic of a great artist, if only for that moment."

Limonick's interests were not only music and basketball; she also had a passion for world affairs and politics. In 2002 she endowed the UCLA Center for Jewish Studies with the annual Natalie Limonick Symposium on Jewish Civilization, which addresses historical and cultural topics.

According to Kohorn, "Working with Natalie was often not easy. Why was it difficult? It was largely because of her unbelievably high — if not seemingly impossible — standards that usually exceeded what her students perceived as possible. However, with her amazingly keen ear for subtlety and nuance, her uncompromising attention to detail, her unflinching personal integrity, her indefatigable energy and her constant willingness to experiment with different teaching approaches until the student would get it right, Natalie was herself a role model, inspiring students and colleagues alike to raise their performance standards and aesthetic values, and to 'make magic' with their music."

Limonick is survived by her daughter, Pam (Limonick) Berger (married to Berle C. Berger); granddaughters Dr. Deborah Berger and Lauren Ben-Avi (married to David Ben-Avi); and great-grandsons Yonatan and Nadav Ben-Avi.

Donations may be made in Limonick's name to the UCLA Center for Jewish Studies, 302 Royce Hall, Box 951485, Los Angeles, CA 90095, or to the Opera Guild of Southern California c/o Doyle Kutch, No. 309, 1142 N. Campbell St., Glendale, CA 91207.

Marilyn R. Padow

Marilyn R. Padow, retired communications associate for the UCLA School of the Arts and Architecture, died at the age of 65 on Nov. 24 while hospitalized for a hemorrhagic stroke in Mission Hills, Calif.

Born in New York, N.Y., Padow received her B.A. in English, with minors in journalism and political science, from Hunter College in New York City. She began her career in 1966 as a production assistant for Fryer, Carr & Harris, a Broadway theatrical production company, on hit musicals that included “Mame” and “Sweet Charity.” Broadway musical theater continued to bring her joy throughout her life.

Padow left the production company for a position as an administrative assistant to the vice director for public affairs at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in N.Y.C. before moving to Bucks County, Pa., where she lived for 13 years with her husband, Gene, and sons Jeremy and Charlie. She worked in community relations for the Central Bucks School District in Doylestown, Pa., and ran a home-based craft business called “Wood ’n’ Things.”

Padow and her family moved to Chatsworth, Calif., in 1986. Following the death of her husband, she raised her young sons while working as an administrative assistant and office manager for the Amcor Group Ltd. in Canoga Park and as an administrative assistant for the Temple Beth Ami in Reseda.

In 1992, she was hired to provide administrative support for UCLA Communications Technology Services as the assistant to the director and to the associate director of administration. She joined UCLA Arts in 1998 until her retirement in January 2007.

Carolyn Campbell, director of communications for the School of the Arts and Architecture, said, “Marilyn was the front line for UCLA Arts and was responsible for much of the goodwill the press and the public felt toward the school. Witty and well-informed, she grew to be a superb editor and was kind and helpful to everyone she met. She was a rare bird and much beloved.”

Padow is survived by her sons, Jeremy and Charlie Padow. In lieu of flowers, the family has requested that charitable donations in the memory of Marilyn Padow be made to the Temple Ahavat Shalom, 18200 Rinaldi Place, Northridge, CA 91326, (818) 360-2258.

Melvin Pollner

Melvin Pollner, professor of sociology, died Nov. 2 of lung cancer at UCLA Medical Center. The 67-year-old professor had touched the lives of thousands of undergraduate and graduate students during his 40 years at UCLA.

Born on Oct. 13, 1940, in New York City, Pollner obtained his B.A. from the City College of New York before moving to California and receiving his master’s degree from UC Berkeley and his Ph.D. from UC Santa Barbara, both in sociology. He joined the UCLA faculty in 1968.

Pollner’s primary research interests were the sociology of mental illness; self and identity; ethnomethodology; and economic sociology. His research in those areas included studies of psychiatric emergency teams, the construction of reality in families, the impact of religious beliefs on psychological well-being, narrative practices in Alcoholics Anonymous, and the social construction of stock market bubbles. In 1987, Cambridge University Press published his book, “Mundane Reason: Reality in Everyday and Sociological Discourse.”

Councilwoman Wendy Greuel said, “Mel loved Los Angeles — except when there was bad traffic — and lived in West L.A. for 40 years. He was an avid explorer of the city and loved the unique neighborhoods, the eclectic personalities, and the arts.”

“A sociologist in the truest sense” was how his daughter, Leslie Pollner Levey, described him. “He was curious about people and he understood people. People were drawn to him. But my dad never wanted to be the center of attention. His focus was on others — to support them and to bring them to the forefront. He made everyone feel special.

“While I will fail to capture the depth and richness of his character — there was so much to love about him: his incredible intellect, his sense of humor, his humanity, his ability to see subtle connections, his appreciation for the offbeat and the absurd, his love of whimsy. And, of course, that sparkle in his blue eyes.”

Pollner is survived by his wife of 45 years, Judy; a son, Adrian Pollner; a daughter, Leslie Pollner Levey; a sister, Harriet Morelli; and a niece and two nephews. Past students, colleagues and friends are invited to share their personal memories on a memorial site at In lieu of flowers, the family requests that donations in his name be made to the Lungevity Foundation, 2421 N. Ashland Ave., Chicago, IL 60614, or online at

Merlin Wittrock

Merlin C. Wittrock, renowned educator, researcher and professor emeritus of education at the Graduate School of Education & Information Studies, died Nov. 28. He was 76.

Wittrock’s scholarship centered on learning processes and learner-centered instructional practices in the areas of mathematics, science and reading comprehension. He conceived the generative learning theory, a renowned system based on neural research, and he spearheaded research that demonstrated the theory’s validity.

The generative learning theory asserts that learners actively participate in the learning process and generate knowledge by forming mental connections between concepts. Successful teachers connect new knowledge with students’ existing concepts, generating links between the contents of short-term memory and students’ knowledge base, or long-term memory. The theory was revolutionary in the field of educational psychology and was the predecessor of current constructivist theories of learning.

“Professor Wittrock’s death is a great loss to us all,” said Aime Dorr, dean of the Graduate School of Education & Information Studies. “Throughout his years in education, he exemplified the humanity, the inspiration and the vigor of a dedicated scholar and professional. It is these qualities which won him the admiration of his colleagues and the enduring affection of his students.”

Wittrock joined UCLA as an assistant professor of education in 1960 and was the founder and first director (1966–69) of the UCLA Center for the Study of Evaluation. He served as the head of the division of educational psychology from 1986 to 1994 and was chairman of the faculty from 1991 to 1993. Throughout his long career at UCLA, he provided devoted and distinguished service at all levels of the University of California system.

Wittrock never forgot the key role of professional development in the growth and retention of excellent teachers. He created and taught UCLA Extension courses, workshops, conferences and continuing education programs for nearly five decades. In his role as faculty adviser to UCLA Education Extension, he made a major contribution to the development of the UCLA Extension Urban Intern Teacher Preparation Program.

“The planets aligned in 1996, when our department embarked on the first elementary credential program to be offered through UCLA Extension,” said Linda Gibboney, director of UCLA Education Extension. “The 40% attrition rate of new teachers; the need for an off-site credential program to serve districts in southeast Los Angeles County; the implementation of the Class Size Reduction Act; and, most significant, Professor Wittrock’s retirement from his full-time faculty position were the forces that led to the outstanding program that has produced successful teachers and educational leaders over the past decade. Merl Wittrock’s legacy of excellence with elegance will guide us and those who follow for years to come.”

Wittrock served as president of the division of educational psychology of the American Psychological Association, as a member of the American Psychological Association Council, on the board of directors of the American Educational Research Association, as chair of the Los Angeles Unified School District’s Committee on Research and Evaluation, and as chair of the board of advisers of the National Center for Research in Mathematical Sciences Education at the University of Wisconsin, Madison. Additionally, he served for 12 years as a University of California Regents’ representative on the board of directors of the WestEd Laboratory, a San Francisco-based nonprofit focusing on education and human development within schools, families and communities.

A beloved professor, Wittrock received the UCLA Distinguished Teaching Award in 1990. His numerous honors include listings in more than 25 national and international “Who’s Who” directories, including “Who’s Who in America” (1979–present) and “Who’s Who in the World” (1980–present). He was a fellow of the American Psychological Association, the Association for Psychological Science, the American Association for the Advancement of Science and the Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences at Stanford University. In addition to awards from the American Educational Research Association, Wittrock received the American Psychological Association’s Thorndike Award for distinguished psychological research contributions to education in 1986.

Wittrock published more than 200 books, articles, chapters and papers on learning, instruction and teaching and was a co-author of “A Taxonomy for Learning, Teaching and Assessing: A Revision of Bloom’s Taxonomy” (2001).

Wittrock is survived by his wife of 54 years, Nancy; his son, Steven Wittrock; his daughters, Catherine Harlow and Rebecca Wittrock; his four grandchildren, Steven, Elizabeth, Andrew and Catherine; and his sister, Marianne Henry. Donations may be made to the Palisades Lutheran Church at 15905 Sunset Blvd., Pacific Palisades, CA 90272, (310) 459-2358.

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