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President's Message

By Allen McCutchan, MD, MSc, Professor Emeritus of Medicine

Dear Colleagues,

As the EA president for this academic year, I want to report on our activities and new developments over the past year. I have been heartened by our ability to adapt to the many restrictions brought on by COVID. Under the leadership of past Presidents, Jake Jacoby (2020) and Steven Adler (2021), we have maintained the activities of the EA through online meetings. Our Emeriti Mentoring Program for Chancellor’s Scholars, Lecture Series, the quarterly EA Chronicles, and Book Club have proceeded successfully online.  Our energetic and skilled administrators, Suzan Cioffi and Vania Bailon, have adapted to loss of their office space on campus while very effectively supporting these activities.

Because of the planned construction over the footprint of our current space, the Retirement Resource Center (RRC) will have very limited administrative space on campus for the two associations which serve retirees; the Emeriti Association (faculty) and Retirement Association (all retirees). The RRC will move in late fall into three small administrative offices in the Building 409 just east of the Student Services Building. But this space will not accommodate even moderate-sized groups (eg, EA and RA Board meetings, or our Book Club). The EA General meetings will return to the Faculty Club in September and the Book Club will meet in a small conference room in the Triton Student Services Center. Many Retirement Association lectures and the International Film Series, an RA program much-loved by many Emeriti association members, will now all move to the Faculty Club.

Many of you look forward to meeting again in person this Fall, COVID restrictions permitting. EA leaders have been sensitive to the substantially increased risk of serious COVID complications for persons in our age group. Fortunately, we have become better protected from these complications by three changes in the pandemic: 1) primary and booster vaccinations 2) antiviral drugs (Paxlovid and others in development) that can treat acute infection if started within 5 days, and 3) the apparent decline of the virulence (disease severity) of the SARS COV2 variant that is currently circulating (Omicron).  On the other hand, Omicron variants with increased infectivity (transmission efficiency) continue to evolve and currently are spreading quickly in our county.  We will continue to monitor these issues, weighing your safety against the desirable return to greater in- person socializing among members.

Our attendance at the EA lectures has expanded several-fold during the Pandemic in our Zoom sessions. Members also appreciate having an online repository of EA lectures. We recognize this. The Retirement Association has purchased software that will enable both online and in-person in “hybrid” mode. EA members with limited mobility and/or impaired immunity may be unable or unwilling to participate in person as the COVID threat continues. Thus, we plan to continue to provide access to our lecture series and other events in both ways.

  long-awaited development at the end of the academic year is news from retiring EA Historian, Jack Fisher, concerning his history of the selection and controversies over the location of UCSD. It documents the difficult process of securing the real estate needed to build UCSD in the spectacular location we now enjoy. ‘Preparing the Soil’ is now  available on the resources page of the Emeriti Association website as a professionally bound edition illustrated with photographs. Jack richly deserves congratulations for completion of this project.  

 Allen