retirement wishes

Highlander Farewells

Find out more about colleagues who recently retired

November 6, 2023
Author: UCR News
November 6, 2023

Inside UCR is launching a recurring feature spotlighting faculty and staff members who recently retired.

Find out more about the contributions of UCR colleagues with 25 years or more of service in the short profiles that follow. Retirees with less than 25 years are listed below. The list includes employees who filed for retirement in 2023 and provided information to the UCR Retirement Center. 

We extend our gratitude to all our colleagues for their service and wish them well in their next chapter!

John Briggs

John Briggs, a professor of English, retired in June after 43 years of service. Briggs taught composition, Shakespeare, and a variety of literature courses. He was the founder and director of the Inland Area Writing Project and founding director of the University Writing Program. Briggs helped author the proposal to establish the Undergraduate Education division. He is the author of “Francis Bacon and the Rhetoric of Nature” and “Lincoln's Speeches Reconsidered.” Briggs received the Senate Faculty Teaching Award in 1995.




Chito Espiritu, a steam plant operator with Facilities Services, retired in July after 26 years of service. He was involved in starting up tanks and chillers at a satellite plant, installing camera systems at the central campus steam plant, co-writing operational instructions, and training other operators.







Mely Fitzgerald

Mely Fitzgerald, an executive analyst and coordinator, retired in July after 25 years of service. After five years at UC San Diego, Fitzgerald joined UCR in 2003, overseeing the Summer Academy for Advanced High School Students in the Summer Sessions and Special Programs office. She began and ran several special programs and became the assistant director of Summer Sessions and Special Programs in 2006. In 2015, she joined International Affairs as executive analyst and coordinator to the vice provost.




Judy Lee

Judy Lee, a University Programs teaching librarian with UCR Library, retired in October after 43 years of service. She began as a reference and instruction librarian, selecting books for various social science disciplines. She became a teaching librarian in 2017, partnering with undergraduate programs and working with students, faculty, staff, and community patrons. She’s served on campus advisory committees and library associations and worked with area public schools. As a community volunteer she’s led walking tours and worked on programs promoting Riverside landmarks and heritage.




Yolanda Moses

Yolanda Moses, a professor of anthropology, retired after 25 years of service. A UCR graduate, Moses served as associate vice chancellor for diversity, equity and excellence from 2007 to 2017. Her recent research focuses on diversity and change in universities in the U.S., India, Europe, and South Africa. She is the author of the 2012 second edition of “How Real is Race: A Sourcebook on Race, Culture and Biology,” and the 2019 book, “Race: Are we So Different?” She was named an American Association for the Advancement of Science Fellow in 2009. In 2016, she received the Franz Boas Lifetime Achievement Award from the American Anthropology Association and in 2017 received a Fulbright Distinguished Chair Fellowship at the University of Sydney, Australia.




Thomas Perring

Thomas Perring, a professor of entomology, retired after 40 years of service. His research focused on the development of environmentally and economically sustainable pest management programs for insects and mites pests of agricultural crops. He developed management options including pest/natural enemy identification and biology, sampling, biological, cultural, and mechanical and chemical control for growers. Perring’s published work in the field was recognized by the Entomological Society of America. He won teaching awards including the UCR Innovative Teaching Award. Perring also held administrative positions including vice chair of the entomology department, association dean in the College of Natural and Agricultural Sciences, faculty director for University Honors, and associate vice provost of Undergraduate Education.





A.L.N. Rao, a professor of microbiology and plant pathology, retired in July after 30 years of service. Rao joined UCR in 1993, focusing on the field of virology. He was involved in the development and instruction of a comprehensive virology course and mentored undergraduate, postgraduate, and postdoctoral fellows. His researched focused on understanding viruses that posed threats to plants, animals, and humans. Rao helped secure research funding from groups including the National Institutes of Health, the U.S. Department of Agriculture, and the National Science Foundation.





Also retiring this year:

Clyde Blackwelder, senior ergonomics specialist in Human Resources, retired in August after seven years at UCR plus four years at UC Irvine Medical Center.

Lisa Cusick, director of budget and operations in University Advancement, retired in June after 22 years of service.

Daniel Ozer, a professor of psychology, retired in July after 32 years of service.

KimDzung Pham, a senior lecturer in comparative literature and language, retired in July after 20 years of service.

David Rios, director of special projects at UCR Library, retired in July after 22 years of service.