Robert E. Coffey receives Faculty Award for Service to USC

Emeritus Robert E. Coffey was presented with the 2012 Paul E. Hadley Faculty Award for Service to USC at the Nov. 13 Provost’s Faculty Retirement Recognition Luncheon. Janette C. Brown, USC Emeriti Center Executive Director, presented Coffey with the coveted award. “Bob Coffey deserves an enormous amount of credit for expanding and strengthening the spirit of unity within the USC retirement community,” said Brown, “and he is held in high regard by all his colleagues.”

Coffey was touched by the honor. “When I first heard I was going to receive this award,” said Coffey, “I was greatly humbled and delighted. I knew Paul Hadley, and I feel honored to be associated with his name. I have a great deal of affection and respect for the RFA and the Emeriti Center.”

Since his 1998 retirement from the Department of Organization and Management in the USC Marshall School of Business, Coffey has been an important contributor to the quality of life and the positive collegial spirit for USC faculty and staff retirees. Coffey joined the Retired Faculty Association (RFA) immediately after retiring, and as RFA president in 2005 he fostered collaboration among the RFA, the Staff Retirement Association (SRA) and the USC Emeriti Center. He asked the SRA to consider inviting retired faculty to the SRA’s annual holiday celebration. The joint holiday party began a tradition of cooperation that continues today. To assure even greater inclusiveness, Coffey proposed having the two retiree association presidents sit as ex-officio members of the other’s board, a practice which both boards approved and still continue. This led to joint programs and events that have benefited all USC retirees. Both presidents also sit on the executive committee of the Emeriti Center.

When Coffey chaired the President’s Faculty Lifetime Achievement Award committee in 2006, he significantly improved the process of evaluating and ranking applicants. Coffey has also been instrumental in supporting Brown as executive director of the Association of Retirement Organizations in Higher Education (AROHE). To support Brown in her complex dual administrative role, he has served as volunteer treasurer of AROHE for the past four years, providing timely financial report and sound advice to Brown and members of the AROHE Board. In another typical display of generosity, Coffey hosted a 2011 AROHE strategic planning retreat at his home. Currently, Coffey co-chairs the RFA’s Outreach Committee to extend social support to widows and widowers. He helped in the development of the Emeriti Center booklet, “Upon the Death of a Loved One,” that assists surviving spouses and partners. When the Center sought to connect retired faculty and staff throughout the vast L.A. metropolitan area, he hosted the first EC Regional Social in his home.

“His infectious smile and warmth make him an ideal host,” said Brown. “He personifies the USC Emeriti Center’s motto: Colleagues for Life.”

Photo: Janette Brown, Marty Levine, Bob Coffey, Phoebe Liebig