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

Once a Bruin, always a Bruin — even in retirement

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When students graduate, they can choose to stay connected to their school by joining the alumni association. But what about retired staff and faculty who wish to remain affiliated with their institutions? What options do they have?
 
For UCLA faculty and staff, there are many good ways to stay linked to the university. The UCLA Emeriti/Retirees Relations Center (ERRC), directed by Eddie Murphy, offers privileges such as campus parking; notary services; access to the UCLA Library; and discounts for UCLA Recreation, the Center for the Art of Performance at UCLA, Central Ticket Office purchases and UCLA Extension classes.
 
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"Dunes," by scientific illustrator Sharon Belkin, has made an appearance at the Emeriti Arts and Crafts Exhibit.
Retirees who would like to get even more involved, however, can follow students’ lead and join their respective "alumni" associations. Retired faculty may join the UCLA Emeriti Association, while retired staff may join the UCLA Retirees’ Association (UCLARA).
 
Both organizations were the first of their kind established in the UC system. The Emeriti Association got its start in 1967 and held a 45th-anniversary event last September at the Faculty Center. The Retirees’ Association, established in 1982, will celebrate its 30th anniversary with a special event on Saturday, April 6.
 
Retired staff will gather at the association’s anniversary program, "Lights! Camera! Action! An Afternoon with Jan Christopher Horak, Director, UCLA Film and Television Archive." Horak will deliver a lecture, followed by a screening of rare, handpicked gems from the archive’s unparalleled collection, a Q&A, refreshments and drawings for prizes. UCLARA members are encouraged to bring UCLA friends or colleagues who have retired or are thinking about retiring soon.
 
Membership in the two associations has grown, along with the number of faculty and staff retirees at UCLA, which jumped from 337 in 2011-12 to 528 in 2012-13 (as of March). The two associations have been devising ways to get these potential members interested in joining and maintaining a connection to UCLA.
 
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Retired faculty share some laughs at the Emeriti Association's 45th-anniversary celebration last September.
The Emeriti Association — headed by President John Edmond, professor emeritus of biological chemistry — holds an annual welcome reception for new emeriti, thrice-yearly dinners and regularly scheduled "After Lunch" events, to which staff retirees are also invited.
 
In its early stages is the Emeriti Mentoring Program, which pairs retired professors with undergraduates in a casual, one-on-one setting. Mentors and mentees meet once a month (or more) to talk about the student’s academic plans, career hopes, extracurricular interests and hobbies, even current events. A similar program in which emeriti will serve as advisers to current faculty at the associate professor level is also in the works.
 
"John Edmond, with my help, has made major strides in involvement of more emeriti in our activities and in integrating newer emeriti in the activities," said President-Elect Steve Cederbaum, professor emeritus of psychiatry and biobehavioral sciences, pediatrics and medical genetics. "We are also working with the Alumni Association, UCLA Development and UCLA Extension to provide more opportunities for emeritus speakers and more contributions to their needs and activities."
 
One of the most popular events is the annual Sylvia Winstein UCLA Emeriti Arts and Crafts Exhibit, which showcases the artistic talents of retired faculty and their spouses. Exhibitors display (and some even sell) their paintings, prints, weaving, woodcarvings, photographs, pottery, sculptures, jewelry, dolls and quilts in the Faculty Center’s California Room. This year’s show will take place on Tuesday, May 21.
 
"We’re in the process of developing a survey to obtain input from all emeriti who are members and from those who are not," Edmond said. "We’re interested in finding out what new emeriti would like to glean from the association. For those who have not joined the association, we would like to understand why."
 
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Hameed Fatemi, controller at the UCLA Faculty Center, took this photo in Iran in April 2006. It was displayed at the November 2008 Retirees' Association Arts and Crafts Exhibit.
On the staff side, the UCLA Retirees’ Association (UCLARA) keeps its more than 900 members connected through quarterly newsletters, monthly programs and annual events such as the Retirees’ Association Arts and Crafts Exhibit (held in November).
 
You can also see retired staff volunteers on Bruin Day and at the UCLA Travel Fair, the Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center, the UCLA Small Business Resource Fair and the UCLA Volunteer Center, where last year they wrote letters to military personnel.
 
"[The Retirees’ Association] is looking to be a value-added resource to the university and to provide members an opportunity to stay connected to the university by using their expertise, education, experience and campus contacts," said President John Dahl, a retiree who was recalled and is currently working as a project director for External Affairs’ advancement services. "Relationships have been created between volunteers and campus departments such as Government and Community Relations and community organizations such as Wise and Healthy Aging," a nonprofit, social services organization.
 
Because many members do not live close enough to campus to participate in these activities, the association is branching out and establishing regional chapters in Palm Springs and Ventura County. The Palm Springs chapter, in fact, is already active and looking forward to future shared events.
 
"I stay involved because I love UCLA," Dahl said. "I want retirees to continue to value and enjoy this great university, to be able to contribute their time and talents to it, and to enjoy friendships that have been created over time, not to mention new ones. Many of my friends are retired now and are members of UCLARA."
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