Planning Ahead While Remembering Her Past
When Susan Bach arrived at Portland Community College in January 1972, she had been out of college only a couple of years and had already tried her hand at teaching high school English. She was looking for a career that kept her in education but allowed her a different perspective as she worked with a new target population.
She certainly found that and more during her 33-year tenure at PCC. While she started as an aide with what was then the Drop-In Center she later moved on to become project coordinator for Refugee ESL and then contracts administrator for the Portland Area Refugee Services Consortium.
"I never had much of a career plan and everything that happened was usually by default rather than design," she says. When she became Director of Institutional Research in 1987 she knew it was the right job for her at exactly the right time. She stayed in that position for 18 years.
While she retired in September 2005 Bach has not altogether left the world of work. She's done some consulting that enables her to stay in touch with her professional life and retain contacts with longtime colleagues.
And her connections to PCC may last even longer. Bach considered her PERS options with an eye to leaving a bit of a legacy after she's gone and has chosen to support the PCC Foundation by listing it as a contingent beneficiary on her retirement IRA. In this situation, the PCC Foundation will receive the remaining principal from Bach's IRA after her primary beneficiary, her husband, Douglas Egan, has passed away.
"We both feel strongly about education, so PCC is designated as a contingent beneficiary along with Willamette University, my alma mater, and UC Berkeley, where Doug went to graduate school," she says.
While she hopes the consulting work continues -- at least for a little while -- she's also looking forward to other activities. She plans to become certified as a beginning instructor for Tai Chi for Arthritis and she's getting reacquainted with her garden. This winter she plans to dust off the two looms stored in the basement of her Northeast Portland home and resume her hobby of weaving.
Also keeping her busy will be volunteering of some sort (in June she served as a scholarship reader for the PCC Foundation) and her seven grandchildren and five grown step children, who live in California and Oregon. She recently returned from a road trip to the Bay Area.
"It's exciting to look at the possibilities because there are so many things a person can do," she says. "I think I'm finally beginning to get a sense of the potential retirement offers to explore new options!"