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The formation of the DCCCD Retirees Association was begun in 1984 through the insight of Dr. R. Jan LeCroy, DCCCD Chancellor from 1980-1988. It was his belief that our retirees, individuals who had served the District together for years and, in so doing, made lifelong friendships, should have an organization which would enable them to continue to meet each other on a regular basis, keeping their friendships and their interest in the District current. Dr. LeCroy asked Assistant Vice Chancellor of Planning and Development Affairs, Bill Tucker, to help in the formation of such an organization. Mr. Tucker and his assistant, Jan Brobst, prepared a list of names of retirees to be invited to a meeting at Eastfield College which Mr. Tucker chaired.
At this meeting, it was decided that there was a definite interest in such an organization and that a luncheon would be held inviting all retirees. It was from the discretionary funds of the Chancellor and the Vice Chancellor that this luncheon and early meetings were made possible.
When a date for the luncheon was proposed, one attendee posited that the date would interfere with finals. Since we academics are a people who have programmed our lives by terms: Fall, Spring, Summer I, Summer II, the statement seemed logical until Bob Shofner asked, “Who cares?” It was Shof’s statement that crystallized the fact that as retirees they were no longer bound by the academic calendar.
There were eighty retirees at this time, and on Sept. 13, 1984, thirty-eight retirees met at the Lakewood Country Club for an organizational meeting.
At the luncheon, a nominating committee was named to establish the slate of officers for the Association. The committee, Marguerite Camp, Bill Sherman, Rita Nall, and Jim Hankerson, chose the following: Charlene King, President; Robert Shofner, Vice President; Ted Carley, Treasurer; and Rita Nall, Secretary.
Dr. Bill Tucker, Chancellor Emeritus, on the right in light suit and tie, attended the luncheon and remains a member, as does Dr. Jan LeCroy
The first official meeting was held at Eastfield College, Thursday, February 28, 1985, at which Dr. LeCroy installed the elected officers.
The Association set membership dues at five dollars a year. Officers were to be elected annually (the slate of all officers from 1985 through the present follows this brief history). There were to be four meetings: two business meetings and two social meetings.
Our Association fund received its initial boost when retiree Ed Stoorza contributed $250 that first year. Our funding was set up through the District Foundation. Our financial year, at that time, was to run from September to August. Old habits die hard.
Initially, meetings were held on various DCCCD campuses and in the homes of members. We were small enough organization then. There were annual picnics and holiday parties, dinners and outings to sporting and theatre events. Potluck was the menu of choice when a member had the meeting in his or her home. On some occasions, members would meet at various restaurants; a favorite was Crackers on Oak Lawn, owned by Gus Katsigris, then head of the Food Services Program at El Centro College.
Later, the association opened a checking account for conducting the financial business of the association, and the Foundation fund became our scholarship fund.
In 1990, our dues were raised to $10 a year, in 1991, our financial year changed from September-August to January-December, and in 1997 the name of our newsletter was changed to Ret-Express. In 2005, the by-laws were changed so that terms for officers were two year terms rather than a one year term, and the Vice President was given the responsibility of Membership Chair. Other minor changes were made to bring the by-laws in line with practices.
In 2009, we had accrued enough money to be able to award a $500 scholarship to an exemplary student. We have continued to award such a scholarship each year since then, and the District Foundation is of great assistance in the administration of this scholarship.
Our retirees have always retained their enthusiasm and willingness to serve. It is through these attributes that we have continued to grow. In 2011, there are over 900 retirees of the DCCCD; 245 are paid members of the Retirees Association. We have two meetings a year: a spring luncheon at El Centro College and a Holiday Luncheon at Maggiano’s in Northpark Center. There are groups of our retirees who go regularly to the theatre, museums, and the racetrack.
We owe a debt of thanks to Vice Chancellor Bill Tucker and his assistant, Jan Brobst. Bill made the initial arrangements for our meetings and guided us into becoming an organization, and Jan Brobst became our district liaison; she edited and printed our DCCCD Retirees Newsletter, which was, and still is, our greatest means of communicating to all our members, especially those who have moved away.
We wish to thank all the succeeding Chancellors in their willingness to give us the solid support we have needed through the years in order to remain a strong organization.
The District Office of Human Resources was and has continued to be our primary link to the District, and without their continued support, we would not be able to operate as efficiently as we do. Also, Dorothy Pool and the Archives team in District Archives provided us with much of the information that we have included here.
We have grown in size, but our function remains a constant. The DCCCD Retirees Association is the continuation of an academic life to which we have dedicated ourselves. Unlike so many who retire, we are not left without the basis which has been our lives and the people who helped us live it.
For that, we thank Jan LeCroy, and the members who have lovingly and loyally served the Association through the years.
Donna GormlyApril 20, 2011