Last updated 10/04/2021
Robert E. Coffey, Ph.D., Professor Emeritus, retired from USC’s Marshall School of Business in 1998 after 35 years of service. He remained an independent consultant until 2001. During his USC career he was an early director of the Entrepreneur Program, Director of the M.B.A. Program, and served twice as department chair. He co-authored two textbooks in organization and management, was President of the USC Faculty Senate, and served several years on the Senate Executive Board. He was elected to the Fellows of The Academy of Management in 1976. He participated in Executive Development Programs both at USC and as an independent consultant.
Bob’s USC Living History Project interview provides more insight into his work at USC and life after retirement.
In retirement Bob was Past-president of the Palos Verdes Sunset Rotary Club, a board member of the Peninsula Symphony Association, Past-president of the USC Retired Faculty Association, a member of the Retired Faculty/Staff Benefits and Resources Committee and a member of two men’s breakfast clubs. He actively participated in Emeriti Center and Retired Faculty Association activities. He was alsoTreasurer for two organizations, AROHE.org and USC’s University Park Investment Group.
“Retirement is an individual thing. There are some commonalities, but there are no cookie cutter rules. My suggestion is to start thinking early how you want to live life after retiring. Some enjoy continuing their chosen career activities, but others choose to do entirely new things. Both can be satisfying. Personally, I have found participating as a volunteer in service organizations to be fulfilling.” Robert E. Coffey, 2012
Bob continued his valuable contributions as a senior advisor to the USC Emeriti Center until his passing in December 2018.
Paul E. Hadley 2012 Recipient
Professor Emeritus Robert E. Coffey was an important contributor to the quality of life and the positive collegial spirit for USC retirees and staff of the USC Emeriti Center since his retirement from the Department of Organization and Management in the Marshall School of Business in 1998.
Coffey’s USC Living History Project interview on YouTube provides insight into his work at USC and life after retirement.
Professor Coffey joined the Retired Faculty Association (RFA) immediately after retiring, and made a concerted effort as RFA president in 2005 to foster collaboration between the RFA, the Staff Retirement Association (SRA) and the USC Emeriti Center. He approached the SRA and asked them to consider inviting retired faculty to participate in the retired staff’s annual holiday celebration. The joint holiday party began a tradition of cooperation that continues today.
To assure even greater inclusiveness, Dr. Coffey proposed having the two presidents of the faculty and staff retiree associations sit as ex-officio members of the other’s board, a practice which both boards approved and still continue. This led to many joint programs and events that have benefited all USC retirees. Both presidents also sit on the executive committee of the USC Emeriti Center, where the collegial tradition continues to be strengthened.
Some of USC’s most distinguished retired faculty members are honored annually by USC’s president with the Faculty Lifetime Achievement Award. Dr. Coffey chaired the Faculty Lifetime Achievement Award Committee in 2006, and he significantly improved the process of evaluating and ranking applicants. Recipients are honored by peers at the president’s Academic Honors Convocation.
The Executive Director of the USC Emeriti Center serves as executive director of the Association of Retirement Organizations in Higher Education (AROHE). In an effort to help strengthen this U.S.-Canadian association and support Dr. Janette Brown in her complex dual administrative role, Dr. Coffey volunteered to serve as Treasurer of AROHE for four years. He provided timely and accurate financial reports; and, even more importantly, he provided very sound advice to Dr. Brown and members of the AROHE Board. In another typical display of kindness and generosity, Bob Coffey hosted a meeting of the AROHE Executive Committee at his home in 2011, following the election of new officers after the 2010 biennial meeting.
Dr. Coffey co-chaired the RFA’s Outreach Committee to extend a helping hand and social support to widows and widowers. He actively participated in the development of a valuable information booklet, “After the Death of a Loved One,” to enable the USC Emeriti Center to assist surviving spouses and partners. When the USC Emeriti Center sought to connect retired faculty and staff throughout the vast Los Angeles metropolitan area, Bob Coffey volunteered to host the first EC Regional Social. His infectious smile and warmth make him an ideal host. Bob Coffey deserves an enormous amount of credit for expanding and strengthening the spirit of unity within the USC retirement community. Dr. Coffey personifies the USC Emeriti Center’s motto: Colleagues for Life.