News of staff departures are always bittersweet, but never more so than when a colleague of longstanding tenure determines the time has come to retire. After 36 years of dedicated service to UCLA, Keith Parker has decided that the end of December will mark his UCLA retirement. Mixed emotions abound … I am filled with gratitude for Keith’s longstanding leadership, humbled by his commitment to the University for more than three and a half decades, and excited for him as he embarks on new journeys and fresh horizons.
Keith arrived at UCLA in July 1981, initially serving in Campus Human Resources. He moved to the Staff Affirmative Action Office in 1982 and rose to become the campus’ Staff Affirmative Action Officer in 1993. Keith transitioned to External Affairs in November of 1998, assuming the role of Assistant Vice Chancellor for Government and Community Relations.
Throughout his tenure, Keith has built enduring relationships with elected officials throughout local, state, and federal government, as well as civic leaders across LA and within our neighboring communities. He has lead advocacy efforts for UCLA that span the service of three chancellors, four UC presidents, four US presidents, three California governors, four Los Angeles mayors, and scores of county supervisors, council members, assembly, senate, and congressional members. Adding the Volunteer Center to the GCR portfolio under Keith’s purview in 2010 only deepened and expanded the collaborations between UCLA and LA, stretching the campus’ commitment to public service across our civic fabric and modeling for our students what civic engagement looks and feels like in its most authentic state.
Keith’s leadership has been widely recognized throughout the UC system, as has his partnership with colleagues across the higher education landscape. UCLA is considered a role model in higher education advocacy because of the manner in which our GCR teams mobilized to support the campus, the system, and the academy writ large.
There will be ample time toward the end of the year to celebrate Keith’s many contributions to UCLA and higher ed more broadly; for now, I am grateful to him for continuing to serve the campus and the Chancellor by engaging with so many civic leaders through the end of the calendar year and ensuring that our ninth Volunteer Day, to be held this year on October 7, is a stellar success yet again.
I am also grateful to Richard Benbow, who joined us in April 2016, and who will be responsible for helping to navigate this transitional moment by assuming even more oversight responsibility for local, state, and federal relations.
More information on occasions to thank and celebrate Keith will be forthcoming in the fall. For now, please join me in acknowledging Keith’s remarkably dedicated true Bruin career.
Vice Chancellor, External Affairs