Retirees ready for recreation, relaxation

One hundred seventy-seven UI employees entered the next stage of their lives during the 2010–11 academic year, which is to say they retired from the University. Some will stay busy playing music, others will find plenty to do around the garden, and still others will attempt to replicate the cuisine enjoyed during trips abroad. Four retirees recently told fyi about their plans.

Photo by Tom Jorgensen.

Darrell Eyman

Darrell Eyman experienced many changes during his 47 years in the Department of Chemistry at The University of Iowa. Eyman remembers when he would teach his students just using chalk and blackboards in 1964. Toward the end of his career he would use PowerPoint lectures and other online tools to connect with students.

Over the past couple of years, Eyman participated in the University of Iowa Phased Retirement Program, which involved full professional activities during the fall semester and no activities during the spring semester. The program is designed to offer a more gradual transition from full-time employment to retirement lifestyle. Eyman spoke with fyi about his time at the University and his future plans

Describe your work at Iowa.
Typical of the work of the University of Iowa faculty, my work always involved teaching, research, and service. I taught introductory level courses each year that I was involved in teaching and taught advanced undergraduate and graduate level courses in my specialty, inorganic chemistry. My research, which involved wonderfully rewarding interactions with undergraduate and graduate students, ranged from main group organometallics to transition metal organometallics. The last 20 years involved more focus on catalysis, especially on energy and environmentally related topics. My service included a wide spectrum of Department of Chemistry committees, a nine-year stint as departmental chair, time on the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences Executive Committee, and participation on many graduate thesis committees.

See the full list of 2010–11 retirees at

What’s the first thing you did upon your retirement from the University?
My wife and I went to our Wisconsin lake home to prepare for a full summer of family activities. Unfortunately, while there I developed conditions that ultimately led to coronary artery bypass surgery within two weeks of my retirement. This has occupied most of the time since my retirement date, but I am well on the way to recovery. I anticipate a full range of activities by September, which include golf, fishing, and listening to audio books

What went through your mind when your last day on the job came to a close?
I did experience feelings of emptiness relating to office, building, and especially people. But, these feelings were somewhat tempered because I participated in the Phased Retirement Program. I had the opportunity to ease into a retired lifestyle.

What are your fondest memories of your time at Iowa?
The interpersonal relations with students, faculty, and staff colleagues. The rewards associated with observation of the development of students, including the impact of intellectual stimulation of undergraduates and guidance of graduate students through research successes, are probably the greatest rewards that have come from my career. I am proud of the level of congeniality and camaraderie, which prevailed with all those I interacted with during my 47 years at The University of Iowa. It was, on occasion, challenging, but during times of conflict, trauma, and crises, the path of civility and compassion resulted in many rewards that I will always value.

—Brittany Caplin


Photo by AJ Mast.

Dorothy Simpson-Taylor

Dorothy Simpson-Taylor, known as “Dr. Doty” to many on campus, retired in October 2010 after more than six years working as director of diversity resources for the University of Iowa Office of Equal Opportunity and Diversity. A champion for inclusion and advocate for all veterans, but especially black female veterans, Simpson-Taylor shares with fyi why devoting a quarter century to planning for this phase of your life is a good idea.

What’s the first thing you did upon your retirement from the University?
Took a much-needed two-month vacation. Learning to “be still” was a challenge for me!

What are your thoughts on retirement?
I encourage everyone to give serious consideration to what retirement means beyond financial stability. We are whole persons who deserve to have complete and fulfilling lives. My 25-year retirement strategy is titled “From Transition to Assisted Living” where I really focused on my core values, my goals, and the must haves in my life. Since happiness is a choice—I chose peace, joy, and hope, and have built that into every day. My goal is to live to be 120. Should I attain that, I want to do so by retaining a piece of my right mind and a reasonable portion of my health and strength.

What are your fondest memories of your time at Iowa?
Collaborating and consulting with the many individuals who represented special interests and constituent groups on and off campus with diversity programs and initiatives, evaluations, and trainings and opportunities to consult and advise others so that inclusion and equity became real and touched the fabric of both the real and professional lives of all.

What interests are you pursuing?
I’ve continued my journey as a veteran and view my interests as a ministry. I’m blessed to work with colleagues in Iowa and Indiana to create a “Sister Soldier Network” to acknowledge and honor the service of black female veterans. My veteran volunteer activities include the Indiana Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve, where I will be working as an education liaison for veterans as well as engaging in other activities that support enhanced services for female veterans. And, of course, competitive senior swimming is still a major goal.

—Lois J. Gray


Photo by Tim Schoon.

Doris Havel

When Doris Havel started working for The University of Iowa in June 1964 as a Clerk II, women in the Educational Placement Office in the UI College of Education were required to wear skirts with pantyhose, and no employee could have food or drink at his or her desk. Havel spent her entire career with the Educational Placement Office until retiring in summer of 2010. Havel shares with fyi some of the sweeping changes she’s witnessed over the past 46 years, and her love of classic cruisers.

Describe your work at Iowa.
In my early days on my job as a clerk II, I took shorthand, answered telephones, and compiled and sent out credentials including copies of candidates’ files and recommendation letters. When I moved to my clerk III position in the same office in 1970 and from then on, my duties changed. I was a receptionist, answering phone calls, waiting on candidates, faculty, and staff when they came into the office, registering candidates when they started files, and more. Later on as services and duties changed in the office, I was also in charge of following up on new College of Education master’s and PhD graduates for the dean, the provost, the Board of Regents, and others.

What were some of the biggest changes or adjustments in your field of educational placement over the years?
We went from Ditto machines and Thermofax machines to advanced copy machines and computers and printers. We went from carbon paper when typing letters and using ink erasers with the brushes on the end to doing everything online. Sending credentials such as files and recommendation letters by U.S. mail gave way to faxing them and sending them online. Thankfully, I was able to adapt to all the changes and advancements within our office.

Are you pursuing any new hobbies, or revisiting old interests?
A lot of our time is taken up by our hobby: our love for old cars. We belong to four car clubs: the Cruiseamatics, the Classy Chassy Cruisers, the 20th Century Car Club in Mount Pleasant, and the All-Iowa Mustang Club in Cedar Rapids. We were involved in the founding of the Cruiseamatics and the Classy Chassy Cruisers. My husband and I own six classic cars: a 1953 Ford Mainline Business Coupe, a 1955 Chevrolet Bel Air, a 1962 Chevrolet Impala, a 1966 Chevrolet Impala convertible, a 1970 Chevrolet Impala, and a 1989 Mustang GT convertible. We love our old cars and enjoy going to cruise nights, car shows, and parades.

What are you most proud of during your time at Iowa?
I am proud of being part of a great team of fellow employees throughout the years who have helped teachers and administrators in our office with their employment.

—Lois J. Gray


Photo by Bill Adams.

Peter Hatch

For more than three decades, Peter Hatch has been putting the pieces together in the Department of Chemistry. Hatch was in charge of the glassblowing shop, where he repaired, modified, and constructed scientific glassware to order. His line of work didn’t change a whole lot over the years, aside from the presence of a computer in Hatch’s shop. (“I’m still struggling with it,” Hatch notes.) Hatch tells fyi about the bonds he’s built through his job and what motivated him to do better work.

How was your last day on the job?
It was great. I had a chance to work on some glassware that had been waiting for six months to be done. And I was fortunate enough to have a retirement party—the Department of Chemistry provided a retirement cake. The next morning I was invited to attend the Kiwanis breakfast.

How did you land your job at The University of Iowa?
I had been glassblowing at two different universities for 11 years when I applied for this job. A letter arrived thanking me for my interest, but they had hired someone else. A couple of months later I received a phone call from the chemistry department. They wondered if I was still interested in working for them. So I always knew that I was their second choice; I tried harder as a result.

So what lies ahead?
No big plans. My time (weather permitting) will be divided between bicycling and driving the Miata. My wife, Lois, and I are blessed to have family close by with three grandchildren—we typically see them several times a week.

What’s been great about working at Iowa?
Working with the graduate students. As they graduated and moved away, many would contact me to continue providing them with their glassware. As a result, I had the opportunity to send glassware all over the world. I will miss the students and the many friends at The University of Iowa.

—Christopher Clair