Sandra Campbell ’83 has worked at UCI for 32 years, and although she’s changed departments and positions, one thing remains constant: Numbers.
She’s always done the math, from the time she got her first job in the general accounting office to her current role as associate vice chancellor of the budget office. Soon, Campbell will no longer have to wrestle with spreadsheets or crunch numbers – except to balance her own checkbook. She retires June 28.
“It’s kind of scary,” she says. “I started here in April 1973. I took a couple years off when I had my first daughter, but I’ve been here most of the time since. I really love UCI and my job.”
Campbell will ease into retirement with multiple celebrations. She’ll be feted by the campus community at a retirement party June 26 in the University Club. On June 29, she’ll visit a Glen Ivy Day Spa to unwind after her three-decade career. Then she flies to Washington, D.C., to watch the fireworks display over the nation’s capital July Fourth – a kind of joint Independence Day celebration. Her friends also will honor her with a tea party.
“I love everything about tea parties – the decorating, the centerpieces, the finger sandwiches and all the little details,” Campbell says.
Finger sandwiches are a long way from the financial reports she’s leaving behind. For the past five years as associate vice chancellor, she’s helped UCI manage its resources. She’s worked on financing construction projects, assisted in capital planning and helped balance the operating budget.
“Sandi has been a strong force in helping build this campus over the past three decades,” says Roy Dormaier, vice chancellor of planning & budget. “She’s been involved in many campus activities, financial and otherwise, adding a positive attitude to them all. She will be sorely missed.”
One reason for Campbell’s longtime success: She’s never been content just sitting at her desk with a calculator. While working full-time, she earned her bachelor’s in economics from UCI in 1983. She’s been involved all over campus, serving as president of Staff Assembly, on the board of the University Club, and as president of the Academic & Professional Women of UCI, receiving the group’s prestigious Pacesetter Award in 1999.
She’s participated on the Irvine Barclay Theatre finance committee and the Western Conference on College Cost Accounting. She was involved with UCI’s early participation in the Avon Walk for Breast Cancer, and was honored by the UCI Alumni Association with a Lauds & Laurels for University Service in 1991.
“I like to do a lot of things. I multitask to the extreme,” she says. “The successful person is one who looks beyond the job description. It’s about looking around and being curious about how your part fits into the whole. That helps you grow as a person and in your career.”
Campbell will continue to evolve after retirement; instead of working with numbers, she’ll use her artistic side, creating cards and scrapbook pages as a demonstrator for Stampin’ Up!, a decorative stamp company. She’ll also devote more time to her South Coast Singers choral group.
“I used to be known as the singing budget analyst,” she jokes. “I’d sing while working on the budget.”
Her advice to the staff members she’s leaving behind:
“Getting involved in activities that are available here can do nothing but enhance your UCI experience,” she says.