Q: You’re a second-generation San Francisco native. How have your experiences at the Academy changed over the years?
A: One of my fondest early memories was walking hand-in-hand with my father and entering the Academy by the fountain with the seal sculpture, back in the 1940s. He took my brother and me there often. I loved all the fish, and African Hall, even though it was a bit scary for a little girl. I especially remember the final diorama of the African plain, which featured lighting that would change from day to night. Later I took my own children there, and still later, my grandchildren.
Q: For 30 years, you were an elementary school teacher. How did the Academy’s school programs support your teaching?
A: I taught in the San Francisco school district, the longest stretch at a wonderful school on Treasure Island. Many of our students had parents in the Navy, but many also came to us from the Tenderloin via school bus. These were largely immigrant families from Vietnam and Cambodia who were just learning English. The Academy offered wonderful field trips and we went many times. The natural world is something that bridges language and culture barriers.
Q: Since your retirement, how have you continued to pursue your passion for science and teaching?
A: I serve on the Board of Trustees for the Hamlin School, which is placing a greater emphasis on teaching science to young girls. When I attended Hamlin School, the education there was more about teaching us to become ladies, but now it’s really equipping girls to succeed in the world. I also belong to every museum in the City, and go to every exhibit.
Q: You’ve been very supportive of the Academy as an annual donor (Friends of the Academy) for many years and as an Eastwood Associate. What encouraged you to expand your support with a generous gift to the Campaign for the New Academy to name a seahorse on the Swamp railing?
A: I decided to make the Academy a beneficiary of my retirement plan in honor of my many fond memories of visiting the Academy with my family. I took advantage of the Pension Protection Act to use my IRA to make a tax-free donation to the Campaign for the New Academy. There is good news for others who want to use their IRA for charitable gifts. The act has been extended through 2009, and you can give up to $100,000 from your IRA without tax consequences. For those of us who are 70 1/2 and older, it is a great chance to give to the Academy.