The retirement parties are over. Goodbyes have been said, emails exchanged, and most from UCLA’s latest "graduating class" of retirees from all over campus have packed up their belongings and left. But not without leaving behind a little advice for their fellow Bruins.
Gail Cowling, Assistant Vice Chancellor for Facilities Management
Years at UCLA: 31.5 years
First job on campus: Labor relations specialist in Staff Personnel
What’s the biggest change you’ve noticed on campus? So many things have changed in 30-plus years. For example, there certainly are a lot more stop signs on campus. But seriously, I must commend the university on the advances made in diversity; 31 years ago, a female head of Facilities Management would never have been considered.
What will you miss most? Laughing with my colleagues and the crush of happy workers going to Parking Structure 8 when the bell rings at 3:30 p.m. on Friday afternoon.
Accomplishments you’re proudest of: I am generally proud of my service to the university, but my pet project was the Crafts Apprenticeship Program. I took great joy in helping people learn a trade that not only enriched their lives but benefitted the university.
What are you looking forward to doing the most? Traveling with my husband.
Advice for your fellow Bruins: Be kind to each other. We are in this together.
Tony Duenas, Sergeant for the UCLA Police Department
Years at UCLA: 35-plus. I started as a student in 1976.
First job on campus: Store security to prevent shoplifting at the UCLA Student Store and later became a store cashier.
What’s the biggest change you've noticed on campus? The campus has grown with many new buildings, but it has retained its intrinsic beauty. The university offers many more areas of academic exploration as well as a wide range of cultural events.
What will you miss most? Being part of the campus community and having a career based on making a positive difference. I will miss being a part of an organization that continues to grow professionally. And I’ll also miss being able to enjoy and appreciate the beauty of the campus.
Accomplishments you’re proudest of: Graduating from UCLA while working fulltime as a police officer. And as a detective, solving cases to bring comfort to the victims.
What are you looking forward to doing the most? Doing some traveling, visiting family, spoiling my nieces and nephews, going back to law school, learning to speak Spanish and getting back into golfing. Not necessarily in that order.
Advice for your fellow Bruins: Relish your time at UCLA. It is truly a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, so explore all that UCLA has to offer. Act with integrity; don’t make promises you can’t or won’t keep. Figure out the best way to get something done and then do it right the first time.
Bob Ericksen, Director of UCLA Dashew Center for International Students and Scholars
Years at UCLA: Merely six of the most amazing years of my life.
What’s the biggest change you’ve noticed on campus? The continued growth despite extraordinary challenges.
What you will miss most: My daily interactions with our global community here at UCLA.
Accomplishments you’re proudest of: Helping the Dashew Center become a more visible, dynamic, fun and fully engaged "go-to" place for our global Bruins.
What are you looking forward to doing the most? Capturing the world with my camera.
Advice for your fellow Bruins: Never compromise your Bruin pride; it will carry you to great heights.
Simon Garcia, Truck Driver delivering gas cylinders to labs.
Years at UCLA: 40 years. I started when I was 19.
First job on campus: Storekeeper for Medical Receiving where I accepted deliveries for the UCLA Medical Center.
What will you miss most? I'll miss the people: my customers, the students, too; just working in a great community. I could have done this for someone else, but I loved the atmosphere here at UCLA.
Accomplishments you’re proudest of: When we started cylinder management in 1991, there were just four guys, and everyone seemed to like us better than the outside vendors who had previously delivered the cylinders. We worked together and made it work.
What are you looking forward to doing the most? Teaching martial arts and getting back into music. I'm planning to pick up my guitar again, practicing and getting better. I specialize in rhythm and blues.
Advice for your fellow Bruins: Just keep on doing what you're doing the way you're doing it because it works. I always say: Not what the university can do for you but what you can do for the university.
Dennis Lyday, Student Affairs Officer
Years at UCLA: 48 years, counting time spent as an undergraduate. I began working here fulltime in 1980.
First job on campus: Helping the evening clean-up staff in Kerckhoff Hall.
What’s the biggest change you've noticed on campus? The easy answer is fees. When I started in 1964, fees were around $100 a semester. Oh, well. But beyond that, since I’ve worked in the Student Affairs area for the past 32 years, I would say the amount of programming that goes on now through the Center for Student Programming, the Community Programs Office, Recreation and Residential Life, to mention only a few, is staggering compared to what was available when I was an undergrad. A very positive change!!
What will you miss most? This is an absolutely beautiful place to come to work to every day — the buildings, the plant life, the squirrels and other critters. I can hardly imagine a work setting that is more appealing to the senses or more engaging mentally.
Accomplishments you’re proudest of: Hard to say. I have been involved in staff development in the Student Affairs area for most of my career. We’ve created many great events and programs, and I’m proud to be part of an organization that has maintained a commitment of this duration to professional and personal development, team building, etc.
What are you looking forward to doing the most? I’ve been writing fiction for about 25 years, and I’ve never put the time and energy needed into getting my stuff out there. My plan now is to put some serious effort into getting my writing in front of readers.
Advice for your fellow Bruins: "When I was doing graduate work in medieval history, one of the things that stuck with me was the rise of the university in early Europe and the special nature of the institution as an "ivory tower," dedicated to the search for knowledge, truth and our best potential selves. I still believe that to be true. And I would hope that we all maintain the belief that we work in a very special kind of place and doing all we can to make sure it retains that quality.
Al Scates, men’s volleyball coach
Years at UCLA: 53 years, starting as a student.
First job on campus: Cleaning the men’s and women's swimming pools every morning, which required me to punch a time clock at 5:30 a.m. at the Steam Plant.
What will you miss most? Helping young men fulfill their potential.
What accomplishments are you proudest of? Forming the first college volleyball league and serving as the commissioner from 1963 to 1972. Scheduling and promoting the first volleyball matches in Pauley Pavilion in 1965 between the men’s and women’s Japanese Olympic teams and the USA teams, and the UCLA and USC men’s teams. Drawing more than 5,000 fans, this event ensured the inclusion of men's volleyball as an NCAA championship sport in 1970. Winning 19 NCAA championships in 37 years.
What are you looking forward to doing the most? I am looking forward to spending more time with my wife and family and starting a new career as a volleyball analyst for the Pac 12 Network.
Advice for your fellow Bruins: Choose the right career so you will enjoy going to work every day.