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Tributes to Janice Reiff

Jan was an advisor, mentor, and friend. Her brilliance shone through in every conversation we had, whether about history, teaching, or just life in general. She was generous with her time and giving in spirit. As a teacher and scholar, there are very few days when I don’t think of her at some point. She will be missed, but she is still with us in so many important ways.  --Brian Kovalesky


Janice Reiff made every student in her class feel appreciated and valued in a way that inspired them to strive harder. I consider myself extremely lucky to have landed in her Sixties Cluster class as a freshman in 2003, and I often found an excuse to drop by her office for long chats about history and Chicago and how it feels to live through tumultuous times. She showed her compassion and excitement with every student willing to engage with history, and she always made her office feel like a home away from home for anyone who needed to chat. I'm eternally grateful that I got to call her a teacher and a mentor and a friend.  Thank you Jan, for being a wonderful teacher and a guiding light to so many students along the way. You will be missed by us all.  --Cody Drabble (Class of 2007)


I’m still struggling to comprehend that Jan has passed, because of how vital a part of our community she was. Her kindness, insight, generosity, and dedication to the campus are going to be missed dearly, as so many have noted. I never hesitated when given the chance to join her committees or to become involved in one of her projects, and I am so grateful to have experienced the rewards of working with her. It is a difficult loss not having another opportunity to solve all of higher education’s problems with Jan over a cup of coffee.   --Kelly Wahl


kindness, compassion, empathy - words Jan lived by. We will miss you.   --Tina Christie


Jan opened a whole new world for me when I joined Online Teaching and Learning in 2019. She always inspired me, guided me, and made me feel valuable. I always appreciated those chats that we talked about travels, photographs, and family. Talking to her was one of the most enjoyable parts of working at UCLA. It was my luck and pleasure to have her as my boss, mentor, and friend.   --Sirui Wang


A kind, considerate and thoughtful FEC Chair I worked with on developing a diversity responsive students course evaluation tool during her tenure.   --Edith Mukudi Omwami


Jan: You were a very, very kind person. Every time we met, you asked how can I help? And you helped in concrete ways. You shared your vast knowledge about distance education. You invested your energies in putting together an impressive team that is helping implement new ways of teaching. You made UCLA a better place. You were a true Bruin.   --Aaron Tornell


I am so grateful to have had Professor Reiff’s friendship and engagement: her care for and support for students were extraordinary, consistent and significant. We all were enriched by her intelligent and rigorous views, her integrity and her devotion to UCLA and the campus community. I miss her very much...   --Janina Montero


I met Jan when she came to work part-time at the UCLA Library Center for Oral History Research, where I worked for 32 years, a position that lasted only three years for her, but we remained friends thereafter. Among her many salient qualities, what proved most remarkable and memorable for me was how utterly inclusive she was. Speaking for myself, a musician who found himself working in academia, Jan never put on airs, talked down to me, or treated me with anything other than a colleague worthy of genuine respect. She recognized abilities in me that others had failed to even entertain and assigned tasks to me that no one would have previously considered. She demonstrated faith and confidence in me, which elevated my own faith and confidence in myself. Jan was someone who cared about and was truly interested in people, an excellent quality to have when engaged in oral history, which is all about people's lives and stories. Long after she had left our office, Jan would often stop to talk with me about what I was working on, how my family was doing, how my music was doing, how her nieces and nephews were doing, and what her latest projects and travels were. She often asked me intriguing questions about Los Angeles and its history. I always got the feeling that she was chronically way overextended. Even so, when she could, she even came to hear me play concerts of my admittedly rather challenging and esoteric brand of jazz music, something that, considering what appeared to be her overwhelming schedule, frankly astonished me. My last conversation with her consisted of her announcing to me that she wanted to take me out to lunch in honor of my retirement from UCLA, a plan that, like so many promising things, the arrival of the COVID pandemic cancelled. The news of her passing was deeply shocking to me. UCLA has lost a huge asset, one that can never be adequately replaced. It breaks my heart that we'll never get to have that lunch. Goodbye, Jan . . . at least for now. You are continued in your students, family, friends, and colleagues, and I bow deeply to you in gratitude and appreciation as I recognize you in them.   --Alex Cline


Jan was brilliant and innovative and a leader, but to my mind, what made her stand out the most were her grace and humanity. She had such kindness and compassion for everyone, no matter who they were. Jan changed my career trajectory just by believing in me and what I could accomplish. Coming from a mostly working-class background, I was never sure whether or how I fit into academia and certainly never considered that I might take on a leadership role at a place like UCLA. Jan looked past my first-gen imposter syndrome and saw my potential to make a difference, just as she had. She successfully nominated me for the inaugural cohort of the UCLA Faculty Leadership Program, setting off the series of events that led to my serving as a member of the administration. Jan was a fantastic role model and if I could make even half the contributions to the university that she did, I would feel proud. Her memory also inspires me to be not just a better administrator (although that too!), but a better human being. In the well-known words of Maya Angelou, “I've learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” Jan made each of us feel valuable and nurtured and we will always remember her with love and gratitude.   --Susan Ettner


Jan hired me at Online Teaching and Learning back in March 2020 at the beginning of the pandemic, and despite the trying circumstances, the last year of working for her has been the most rewarding of my career. As a boss, she was exceptionally generous and concerned with furthering the career aspirations of all her employees. She was a fierce advocate for us to be doing the type of work that we have a passion for, always at the cutting edge of educational technology and innovation. Her sudden and unexpected passing devastated all of us working at OTL, and she is missed tremendously. We will continue to carry out her vision for the future of online teaching on the campus.   --Dan Weisman


I feel so grateful to have been able to learn from and learn with Jan. I was awed by the way her mind worked, as a brilliant visionary and creative problem solver, always respectful and considerate of all points of view. But most, I loved listening to her stories of traveling to remote places, community organizing, UCLA history and our shared love of photography. I will miss her humor, her empathy, her mentoring, and her leadership.   --Rachel Kennison


It is with incredible sadness that I mourn Jan's passing to the other shore. I was her doctoral student from, roughly, 2008 to 2014, although her influence will always remain with me. She shepherded my understanding of the historian's craft - especially with regards to global cities - with care, patience, good cheer, and high standards. I could always rely upon her to carve out time of her busy schedule to meet with me to review almost endless pages of careful marginalia on my drafts (written with her characteristic fountain pens). She consistently affirmed my intellectual and personal investments in my research; indeed, I always looked forward to our meetings and left feeling empowered to soldier on. I also thoroughly enjoyed our conversations that went beyond scholarship where she regaled me with stories of the joys of research, the perils of academia, and tales of her own life and family, always reminding me that there was more to our lives than words on a page. I recall fondly the stunning photos she took or her beloved Chicago and placed in her office, our conversations about daring eyeglasses frames, and her reassurance when the posturing of the university got me down. In addition to her mentorship as my adviser, I was lucky to serve as her TA in the interdisciplinary Los Angeles GE Cluster, which she founded. Her imaginative use of media, assessments that involved putting foot to pavement, and use of student-based, crowdsourced knowledge production was ahead of its time and shaped my teaching in profound ways. Thank you, Jan, for the example you set and for keeping me afloat in an ocean of capricious waves. I will miss you very much.   --Jean-Paul deGuzman


I met Jan while doing my PhD. I took a social history course with her and Kate Norberg, and she was also a member of my dissertation committee. Jan was incredibly kind and supportive, and provided copious, helpful comments on my dissertation draft. I stayed in touch with her in the first few years after I completed my PhD. She generously covered the expense of a shared hotel room at a conference and treated me to dinner. Aside from all her academic and instructional accomplishments, she was a wonderful person. I'm sad to hear she has left us, but I will remember her by treating my students the way she treated me.   --Brigitte Le Normand


Jan was a wonderfully compassionate scholar who understood that the personal and institutional were also political. She demonstrated this in her work in the Faculty Senate developing the parental leave program for graduate student teaching assistants and fellows. To my knowledge, I was the first graduate student to receive leave in that program in 2013, when I worked for her in the LA Cluster. She accepted me as a Fellow knowing I would need this leave and offered unwavering support over the course of the year. She shaped the institution in ways that transformed my family and made space for the personal within the academy. I am deeply grateful for her life and saddened by her death. She leaves so many powerful legacies. I don’t have a picture of Jan, but just in case this is one of the baby who benefited from that leave as she walked with me in the 2013 hooding.   --Melanie Arias


My deepest condolences to Jan's family and friends. She had such a big heart and always made room at the table for everyone's voice to be shared and included. She was a champion for change, a beloved colleague, and to me she was a mentor and friend. She leaves behind a legacy. Thanks for all you did for UCLA, Jan. We will miss you.   --Jess Gregg


The word devastated barely begins to cover how I feel about Jan’s death. I always assumed that we’d have many more conversations. I only hope that she knew how much she was admired by her colleagues, esteemed by her friends, and venerated by her students. Friends are the family we choose, and I will always consider Jan a close friend, a true friend, a dear friend, who will certainly live on in my heart and my memories. I am only grateful for one thing: That she will never know the pain and loss that we feel. Jan, losing a friend is like losing a sibling: An essential pillar of life is gone. Rather than say goodbye, let’s instead strive to live up to her example, her creativity, energy, boundless enthusiasm, dedication, and endless generosity. Jan, we will always treasure you.   --Steven Mintz


I met Jan at the Newberry Library in the early 1990s. For more than a decade, I worked closely with her, and our co-editor Jim Grossman, on the Encyclopedia of Chicago. She was the best of colleagues--pushing us to do our best work. I will treasure the friendship that developed from this long collaboration always.   --Ann Keating


I will never forget the kindness Jan showed me as we were launching our program. She was quick to include me in conversations and invite me to meetings and events which greatly helped me get to know the teaching and learning landscape even better. Her tireless work and dedication to our campus and especially to our students remains an inspiration and I will miss her dearly.   --Lisa Felipe


I met Jan at the Newberry Library in the late 1970s, and one day she asked if I would be interested in working with her on the Pullman collection which was sitting uncatalogued and unused. That was the beginning of our decades-long collaboration, creating the Pullman database, writing articles, and sharing our findings with residents concerned to preserve the Pullman neighborhood. Jan was a superb collaborator (a trait not often prized in the history profession) because she cared deeply about the people she worked with as well as with the quality of the work itself. While Jan was often asked to join projects because of her computing expertise, she always contributed so much more as she brought her curiosity and insight to bear on understanding the theoretical and methodological issues raised by the subject. I have missed her personally and professionally since she left Chicago, but I know that allowed her to make a great contribution to other scholars and students.   --Susan E. Hirsch


It is with a heavy heart that I write this tribute. When I arrived at UCLA in the Fall of 1994, I was unready for the rigors of graduate school. My writing was weak. My analysis was inadequate. Filled with self-doubt, I wondered whether I could improve either enough to become a professional historian. Jan guided our cohort through twentieth-century historiography that year, and I began to have a glimmer of hope that maybe I could pursue this profession. I was elated when she agreed the following year to become my advisor. Graduate school is a process, and I know that I would not have earned my Ph.D. without her generosity of spirit and intellectual rigor. Even after my hooding in 2001, she continued to mentor me as I tried to figure out my path. I was lucky. I wound up working at the Newberry Library, which I am sure was due in no small part to Jan's letter of recommendation. The result was that I was fortunate enough to continue to see Jan regularly even though I had moved halfway across the country. Without that job at the Newberry, I wouldn't have secured my position as the director of the Public History program at Florida State. The one bad part about moving to Tallahassee was that it meant that I only got to see Jan at the AHA. Although I know she was being pulled in hundreds of directions, she always made time to meet and talk. Twenty-six years after I first took a class with her, I know she still kept tabs on me. When I received news this past December that I will be a full professor starting Fall 2021, she wrote: "What great news! Well deserved. Jen and several who have commented on Jen's success make those of us at UCLA who had a chance to work with you very proud (and happy for the opportunity to get to know you)." But it was me who was privileged to have had the chance to get to know and work with Jan. I will miss hearing her laugh, talking about urban space(especially Pullman), movies, music, her love for her family, and her sense of adventure. I can still hear her voice in my head, and I know I always will. She was the absolute best.   --Jennifer Koslow


Celebrating Jan Reiff

Celebrating Jan Reiff is bittersweet. I am torn between tears and more than 50 years of memories of close and trusted friendship and collegiality. Jan and I first met in 1968 in a British History class as undergraduates at Northwestern University. 

We met again in 1979 at the Newberry Library in Chicago and began a close professional and personal relationship that lasted until Jan's unexpected death. I was an NEH Fellow and Jan was Associate Director of the Family and Community History Center. Jan supervised my wife, Vicki Graff, who worked as Administrative Assistant. For two years, we worked and played; cooked and ate; marched; talked history, academics, politics, arts and music, and sports; read each other's work; and more. She prepared dinner to celebrate the publication of my first book in September 1979.

The strong connection remained after Vicki and I returned to Dallas in 1981, moved to San Antonio and then Columbus, and Jan moved to Cleveland and Los Angeles. Jan and I saw each other almost every year at meetings of the Social Science History Association, where we had our annual dinner. She often participated in panels I organized on urban, public, and interdisciplinary history. Jan cohosted my visits to UCLA, and I brought her to Ohio State University to speak.

Not only did we maintain a very supportive friendship, we also advised each other on professional matters. It was my honor to write many letters of recommendation and nominations for Jan. We shared a number of close friends, colleagues and acquaintances. Special among them is UCLA's distinguished professor, Johanna Drucker. I was delighted to assist their meeting when Johanna joined the UCLA faculty.

Jan was one of the world's greatest aunts to her nieces and nephew.

Jan's passing is a loss to historical scholarship and teaching excellence. Her pioneering accomplishments, leadership, and many contributions merit an essay in themselves. Especially notable are those in urban, quantitative, public, and Los Angeles history.

To say that Jan Reiff is missed is a dramatic understatement. I think of her every day.  

--Harvey J. Graff, Professor Emeritus of English and History, The Ohio State University 


Jan was a UCLA TREASURE! I served with her on a number of task forces, committees, and activities on the campus. She was engaged with the UCLA Library and continually contributed to our development and success. She felt a deep affiliation and was always open and willing to listen. I often planned my arrival on the campus with a stop at the Starbucks in Westwood where we would wax on about the issues of the day! UCLA will miss her very much.   --Gary E Strong


Jan was everywhere at UCLA. I'd run into her often at the Faculty Center where she was always happy to chat about various things. I'd see her on the BruinBus, or at bus stops. Or just walking around campus, hanging out at the library. She was so present at UCLA -- so much a part of the fabric and culture of this great university. Jan also had that magical ability to respond to my random questions as if she didn't have a million other responsibilities. I'll remember Jan each time I round the corner to the Playa Room, envisioning her at one of the window tables, eager to chat.   --Lisa Kemp Jones


Jan Reiff was a friend since her Fulbright year in Bremen, a friendship that has lasted over decades. When we saw each other at conferences, niece and nephew and trips with them featured indeed prominently. As to the UCLA service she would grumble over too much work but be proud of, in my view, her achievements, which she often couched in terms of cooperation with others. She had a very strong commitment to UCLA, the students and her co-faculty. In her early years there she was aware that neither public history nor service to the U counted in the eyes of some senior colleagues. But later she did feel appreciated and was happy. As it happened, we communicated a few days before her death. It was clear that the lockdown and lack of exercise had taken a heavy toll on her and that she felt the need to slow down but, in terms of exercise, speed up. Thus I want to share one paragraph from her email of 2 May: "My biggest goals right now are to try to make up for over a year of minimal exercise so I can begin to travel and photograph once borders open. I'm fully vaccinated at this point -- but I'm amazed finding out how a mile walk now challenges me in ways that a 10 mile stroll in Paris did not bother me before. Swimming pools are about to open, an opening that completely excites me. I did drive up to Ventura last weekend and stayed in a hotel room that overlooked the Pacific from the balcony. With my camera in hand, I wandered slowly along the beach and completely enjoyed being away from my desk and from LA. Right now, I'm hoping to go to Santa Fe for a photographic workshop starting July 5 and accompany an alumni tour to Christmas markets from Zurich to Dusseldorf starting December 11. Between then and now, I continue to be on the leadership team for things like campus reopening." She had so many plans. This is the way, I will remember her.   --Dirk Hoerder


In a year that has had so much sorrowful news, to hear of Jan’s passing is among the especially sad. Jan wore many hats for many people, but by far her favorite “hat” was to be an aunt. Her special visits to Chicago to take a niece or nephew on outings of their design were always the highlight of her year, whatever else she had accomplished. It was my favorite thing to ask her about -- What is the next Aunt Jan trip?-- because talking about the accomplishments and interests of her niece/nephew(s) was clearly her favorite topic. My first thought hearing of her untimely passing was of them and how much Aunt Jan looked forward to finally retiring to have more time for them in her beloved city of Chicago. I hope they are comforted to know how much their Aunt Jan was loved. Jan was a friend to many. Even if you were not a close friend, she made you feel like one. She was warm, kind, could laugh at herself, and she listened. Jan also embodied and embraced the value of public history, even when it was often not well-regarded by some of her colleagues. I had the honor to know Jan first as a member of the History faculty when I worked with the National Center for History in the Schools. Recognizing the value of connecting university historians to K-12 teachers and public museums, Gary Nash made NCHS into a public-serving unit once the “History Wars” over history standards ended. Jan was immediately a natural ally, stepping in to help in ways that were almost certainly unnoticed by many. She believed in making history come alive. Jan wrote (and presented in person) our first primary-source based mini-unit for the NCHS partnership with a school in Highland Park. I still remember how excited the ninth graders were to see their own neighborhood in the past! Note -- high school students excited about history! NCHS was also a co-”PI” on many Teaching American History grants with LA County. Jan was a faculty partner when we took Los Angeles high school teachers to Chicago to experience twentieth-century history. I will always count it a privilege to have toured Pullman Village and Hull House with Jan. She also joined us on an unplanned dash across the highway (we made the bus driver stop) to see the church where Emmett Till’s funeral was held.Jan made her scholarship matter in other ways, as I am sure her students and colleagues in the LA cluster will attest. I always wanted to take that ride on Metro 2 bus from the coast to East LA with her students to see how they experienced history. Jan set a high bar with her service to the University. She served as Senate Chair and took on the responsibility of the first Senate responses to the Moreno Report. She cared about staff, even staffing Senate committees and taking minutes when there was a staff shortage. Staff gave her a “NO” hat when she stepped down from Senate Leadership, but saying no to requests to serve was not in her vocabulary. Even though she did like to grumble about it and knew it was undervalued, Jan unfailingly served the University and was uniquely poised to help the University navigate online teaching during the pandemic. I am personally thankful to Jan for giving me the opportunity to interview for a position supporting the judicial committees when NCHS downsized. She was my guide to reform the judicial committees and my role model for a service-oriented commitment. Jan was an aunt, a friend, and a public servant who made her scholarship matter. She is already deeply missed.   --Marian McKenna Olivas


Jan was such a vibrant and down-to-earth advocate for excellence in innovative undergraduate teaching. Her influence is visible in so many areas of undergraduate teaching at UCLA. Her death leaves an unfillable void.   --Christine Holten


Jan was the best of colleagues. She inspired, she mentored, she guided. I always felt lucky when, at a campus event, I found myself seated next to her. I will miss her on a personal level, and also miss the leadership and vision she brought to UCLA.   --Rob Gould


Like so many, I was shocked and saddened by news of Jan's death. It was all the more unexpected given how vital she was. Jan identified strongly with her formative years in Chicago, and I always associated her with that city's self-image as the one with "strong shoulders." Jan had strong shoulders, and she used them to do huge amounts of important work at UCLA. You really get to know somebody when you teach with them year after year as we did in the Sixties Cluster, and I think our community has lost a heroic advocate for teaching and its support. During the pandemic year, Jan was omnipresent in the many, many planning meetings I attended; she seemed to be doing everything at once, her chosen areas of expertise and passion, teaching and technology, now at the center of the crisis. Jan's part of our Freshman Cluster involved oral history and storytelling. She put her own life into the mix, and even did a video interview with one of our TAs, so I am aware of how far Jan came from the world of her youth, and how irrepressible and youthful her enthusiasm for history and culture remained, right up to the last year of her life. She will be missed.   --Robert Fink


I first met Jan at an AHA in December 1978. Michel Dahlin, a dear friend, was then working with Jan at the Newberry Library. Michel had shown Jan my picture in advance of the convention and had told her to introduce herself to me because "you two will like each other." Michel was right! Jan and I maintained a lovely friendship over the years: I stayed with her in Chicago and Westwood, and she was my guest in Berkeley and Laguna Beach. Besides sharing an intense interest in U.S. history, we also shared a passion for ballet and went to many performances together. I will greatly miss this big-hearted, brilliant, and generous woman.   --Glenna Matthews


I am devastated by the news. We shared so much together, favorite lately was meeting in NYC and going to Broadway Shows. We loved the theatre but we were also urban historians and loved picking out a place to visit. She was so good at everything she did, loved her students, her family and life. She was a great friend to have her loss takes a lot out of life.   --Marjorie Murphy, Professor of History Swarthmore College


Jan Reiff’s sudden death has left many, including myself, in a state of shock. She was a dear friend, and an honorary member of my family and I will miss her very much. I first met Jan at a reception hosted by Eric and Judy Monkkonen in 1992. We hit it off right away. Over the decades we talked endlessly about the art and practice of teaching U.S. history, her passion for all things Chicago, about family and children and politics and films and travel and photography. I admired her for compiling such a distinguished and far-reaching resume that included a superb record of service to UCLA in many different capacities, including chair of the Academic Senate, and a leader in developing online instruction for the campus. Jan’s prominence extended far beyond the UCLA campus, and other tributes will note the contributions she made to the academic profession and beyond. I know this to be true: that she had an incredible network of friends and that she loved her family, and they loved her back. Rest in peace, Jan.   --Joan Waugh


Jan was amazing and inspirational, and such a role model for centering student voices. Things sometimes felt a bit unpredictable at our meetings, but that's because she was trying to balance a complex set of systems, variables and uncertainties, all with such a positive and energetic approach. And because she always made space for all folks to contribute, in such an inclusive way. Thank you Jan!   --Shanna Shaked


It is difficult to accept the idea that Jan is gone. She was a close friend who we have known for years.  I worked with her when she was on the Graduate Council and I was an Associate Dean in the Graduate Division.  We also knew her well because she was Chair of the Academic Senate after Kathy, so they had long and regular conversations about that.   But basically she was a close friend, and we often ate lunch together in the faculty center. Jan, Dan Bennett, and Kathy and I regularly went out to dinner together, often to the Polish restaurant in Santa Monica, now called Solidarity.  Jan often talked about retiring and going back to her family and to Chicago; she has a niece in Chicago that she loved taking on trips when she was there.   Jan and Kathy had a pact that they would retire together, but Jan was so committed to UCLA that she could never bring herself to leave.  People just kept asking her to help them with some IT problems or committee issues, and she always felt both obligated and excited about doing everything she could.   She was also a great teacher – she may have been an expert on Chicago, but she taught undergraduates about Los Angeles in a way that we always wished we could be in one of her classes.  We kept talking about going on a trip abroad together, but somehow our conference trips never quite overlapped so she would always go off on her own and come back with great pictures.  Jan gave us valuable advice about Germany, first when we went there for research, and later as Fellows at the Freiburg Institute for Advanced Studies.  It was always a pleasure to sit down with Jan; we will miss our long conversations with her. But her commitment to UCLA was extraordinary; indeed, she would have gone back to Chicago with her family if UCLA hadn’t kept asking her to take on yet another committee or another IT problem. Jan was wonderfully generous with her time, intelligence, and friendship.  In sum, Jan was an extraordinary human being and she will be desperately missed.   --Ross Shideler & Kathy Komar


I knew Jan very well for about a dozen years after 1973 at the Newberry Library in Chicago. The big project was to educate the history profession in the new social science methods of computers, sampling, coding, data processing on IBM cards, correlations, using demographic models, and looking at history from the bottom up. Jan was our best teacher. In all about a thousand historians – advanced graduate students and junior professors --worked with her in intensive summer Institutes, and in week-long and short workshops at universities across the country. Her specialty was understanding the needs of each participant – what skills they were looking for, what pits they were falling into, what materials they needed to be read, and who they should be collaborating with. Between workshops Jan was deeply immersed in research in the Pullman company records at the Newberry, building a remarkable knowledge of Chicago neighborhood by neighborhood,. D’Ann Campbell and I kept in touch with her over the decades, and we deeply miss her.   --Richard Jensen


Jan had a clear vision for online and technology-enhanced teaching at UCLA and she worked assiduously to achieve it. The structures she built and talented people she recruited to enable that vision will ensure that her legacy lives on at UCLA. She was also an extraordinary and tireless force in guiding our campus through the pandemic; there was no one who worked harder than Jan. What a loss.   --Adrienne Lavine


I got to know Jan more closely during the university's response to the COVID-19 Pandemic. Her leadership of Academic Continuity was truly pivotal to UCLA during the crisis. She worked around the clock to ensure that UCLA was able to transition to remote learning. Jan was a visionary leading UCLA to the future, she was a kind and warm and collaborative colleague, and dedicated to service. We will all miss her so much. My heart is with her loved ones and family.   --Nurit Katz


It was a privilege to get to know Jan. She was truly brilliant and her knowledge on topics impacting our industry was unmatched. Her kindness and willingness to collaborate for the betterment of UCLA was inspirational. Jan was always positive and optimistic – amazingly so. She cannot be replaced but we can honor her commitment to a vision by continuing to advance it. Heaven is now a smarter and kinder place.   --Jeff Roth


I was introduced to Dr. Reiff a few months ago by a colleague from the School of Medicine to connect about the LMS transition project. Dr. Reiff and I only spoke for about 20 minutes not too long ago and it felt like we were long time colleagues. I didn't expect to end that conversation having a new mentor who was willing to help me navigate through my non-traditional career path in learning design. I am humbled and inspired. Thank you.   --Mark Malonzo


My heart is with Jan's family and friends--and those are legion. Jan made every relationship into a friendship with her gentle, kind spirit, her generous sharing of knowledge and wisdom, and constancy. Always reading to help, always able to help, Jan bridged the worlds of day-to-day classroom instruction (wholly invested in student learning) and the administrative responsibilities that made resources available to thousands. And always with a calm voice, a welcoming smile, an infectious laugh (chuckle), and those sparkling eyes. She built a strong foundation for all who will follow her.   --Chris Mott


Jan and I NEVER talked History. Only where we would have our next divine cup of coffee. Darn it, Jan, who will I have my next cup of coffee with at the AHA????   --BeeBee Bernstein


Without fanfare, Jan did an astonishing amount and variety of work for UCLA and its students. And she did it perceptively and fair-mindedly, always far more determined to get things right than to get herself ahead and admired. But all of us who worked with her in the 60’s Cluster admired her deeply, and delighted in working with her. She always made me want to be at my best – a great gift, and one she gave to her students as well. I treasured her as a colleague, a friend, and the wisest and kindest adviser on navigating this university; and I only wish I had returned the favor more diligently. Years ago, we agreed I would serve as her “Dr. No,” tasked with instructing her to turn down the endless calls for her to take on some next unenviable administrative task, but it’s painfully obvious how often I failed. Over this very difficult past year, she took on maybe the most complicated, difficult, and essential task: making everything in online teaching and campus tech work for the best in both the short and the long term. She knew and loved music, cities, and travel, and was an amazingly good photographer. She cared deeply about feminism and a range of other great causes, without any facile posturing. In short, Jan Reiff was wonderful, and she is irreplaceable.  --Rob Watson


While I have been the unknowing beneficiary of Jan's incredible work within UCLA (the institution), it was only in the past few months that I had the joy to share work and space with her. It will come as no surprise that, even in such a short time, Jan left an indelible and important mark on me. Thank you, Jan. I promise to keep a torch lit.  --Siobhan Braybrook


I got to know Jan while in grad school. She was a great presence -- perceptive, friendly, always available to discuss things big or small. I'm sad to hear of her passing. She enriched my life and the lives of many others.  --Patrick Sharma


I knew Professor Jan Reiff over the past twenty years and, during half that time, had the privilege of sharing the classroom with her as a co-instructor in the GE Sixties freshman cluster. Jan was a freshman at Northwestern in the fall of 1968 and so the cluster held a special place in her heart. Jan was the best colleague imaginable, and no one was more generous with their time when it came to working directly with students. She was always willing to do whatever was needed to make the cluster experience special for hundreds of freshmen each year and also to make things easier on the rest of the faculty team. She will be dearly missed.  --Jeff Decker


Jan was a strong advocate for students, faculty, and the UCLA campus. She was a wonderful colleague and friend and I will miss her dearly.  --Christina Palmer


I interacted with Jan through our work for UCLA's Academic Senate, and Jan was such a thoughtful and inspiring colleague. I am honored to have worked with her and I am shocked and extremely saddened by the news of her passing. My condolences to her family and loved ones.  --Ertugrul Taciroglu


Jan was a dear colleague and friend, someone on whose wisdom and humor I could always count. So grateful for her leadership and support of education innovation. I share a photo of Jan pictured with our CIRTL steering committee assembled for our annual meeting in May 2018.  --Erin O'Leary


I always looked forward to my meetings with Jan when she was on my dissertation committee. Without fail, I knew that every meeting I had with Jan would make my work stronger; she provided the perfect balance of suggestions for how I should push on and explore different ideas further, alongside genuine support and passionate enthusiasm. I loved our conversations about teaching and pedagogy and how we could learn from the great educational theorists of the past to improve student learning in the present. A few years ago, I was so happy to reconnect with Jan for coffee on campus a decade and a half after I graduated; her combination of intellect and warmth was a reminder of what I have always loved most about being a student at UCLA. Thank you, Jan.  --Melanie Ho


A giant in so many ways, Jan left us too soon. I miss her so much, and I hope we can honor her by continuing her legacy of kindness, generosity, creativity and above all passion for humanity.  --Cindy Fan


Jan showed incredible kindness to me throughout my time knowing her. She always had an open office door to me for a chat about the kids or her latest travels. She believed in me when my confidence was low and my career was off track. Again she believed in me and the mission of equity for the disabled when I took on a new role here at UCLA. She had a vision for this campus, and it is my hope that I can in some part bring that vision to a reality in honor of her. She was a friend to me and I deeply miss her.  --Travis Lee


I worked for Jan at Online Teaching and Learning for six years, and I will miss her very much. She was without a doubt the hardest working person I’ve ever met, and her efforts have shaped UCLA in innumerable ways. She always encouraged our team to innovate and find ways to improve teaching and learning. And as a fellow Chicagoan, I will miss reminiscing about the Windy City with her. One of my favorite memories is the joy we shared the morning after the Cubs won the World Series—a joy that only a Chicagoan could truly understand. You will be missed, dear mentor and friend. We will do our best to continue your legacy.  --Kerry Schutt Nason


I worked closely with Jan when she was Chair of Graduate Council and I was Assistant Dean in the Graduate Division. She was an outstanding academic administrator, highly skilled at negotiating with diverse groups of people to get the best outcomes for all. Throughout her work, Jan maintained a sense of compassion, perspective, – and humor. Jan was a dear friend. We were born just three days apart, discovered a shared admiration for her colleague and my undergraduate mentor – the brilliant American historian Walter Nugent, and had a mutual interest in the history of the 60’s. She fully understood my abiding affection for JFK and RFK and happily gave me a deck of Kennedy Kards discovered when clearing out her late mother’s house. I recall her love for Chicago and its history and culture, including Steppenwolf Theater and the great Tracy Letts, and for her niece and nephew who she adored, as well as her enormous respect and affection for her colleagues and students in the Department of History. I will miss our discussions of food, books, movies, theater, and travels via United Airlines. Most of all I will miss Jan’s warmth, grace, and deep humanity.  --Daniel Bennett


Jan was a wonderful colleague. She cared deeply about education, and she encouraged innovation in pedagogy. She held ambitious goals and worked steadily to achieve them, always keeping in mind the need for consultation and collaboration. I will miss our lunches together at the faculty center, I will miss our coffee breaks, and I will miss her warmth, thoughtfulness, and unfailing kindness.  --Maryann Gray


Jan always made me feel welcomed, supported and inspired. She helped me understand the steps that ultimately resulted in Semel HCI successfully submitting the undergraduate Food Studies Minor. She was also instrumental in helping Semel HCI support the development of the undergraduate nutrition on line course over 4 years ago. I will sorely miss her intellect, generosity, and leadership.  --Wendelin Slusser


When Jan joined our 60's Cluster a few years ago she gave a "new" lecture on The Women’s Movement. That year we were lecturing in Covel Commons main auditorium, which is like a theatre in the round -- very dramatic. At the end of her lecture, after making the point that she wouldn’t be standing up in front of all of the students if it hadn’t been for the pioneers who came before her in the 1960s, she played Carole King’s "Natural Woman" loudly to end the lecture. I’ll just never forget it. I was sitting in the back and the whole thing moved me to tears. I ran down after the lecture ended and gave her a hug. We barely knew each other, but she made me feel like we knew everything we needed to know because we were both women standing on the shoulder’s of giants. I will always think of her when I hear that song — and we will always play it in GE60 to remember her. In the year's since I came to know Jan through our team-teaching. If I am ever more patient with students than I otherwise would have been, it will because I am hearing Jan's voice in my head reminding me that we are in this job for them. UCLA is less today than it was yesterday because of this loss.  --Lynn Vavreck


Jan, when it came to online education, you were focused and determined, and you realized a long-held dream with the establishment of the Online Teaching & Learning team. You were central to so much that was happening on campus. There is a missing screen in many Zoom meetings right now; there will be an empty seat at many tables to come. But we still hear your voice! We won't forget your take - your views - on all things online and edtech, your stories from the Sixties, the beautiful photos from your travels. We wont forget you. Thank you Jan.  --Kim DeBacco


I met Jan a couple of years ago to discuss how we might create a contingency plan to shift to online learning in an emergency….to be used “someday”. The Universe had other plans and Jan was a steady, calm, collaborative, and supportive presence throughout the height of the pandemic and beyond. I will miss Jan.  --Tara Brown


On behalf of Leadership Greater Chicago, I want to express our sympathies to Jan's family, to all of her colleagues at UCLA and to those who knew her and loved her. My organization met Jan when she was recommended to us as the authority on two neighborhoods in Chicago, Roseland and Pullman. We were told she was THE authority who could ground us in the history of these two neighborhoods. Jan made a wonderful virtual presentation for Leadership Greater Chicago's Daniel Burnham Fellowship, a Fellowship for C-suite and Senior Executives, last Fall when we focused on these two important areas for economic development. She brought the historic view of these two Chicago neighborhoods to life in an extraordinary manner. She is much admired in the history circles we reach out to during the year and we are so grateful to her for having graced our virtual classroom. We send our very best to the UCLA community and to her family - you are in our thoughts and prayers.  --Maria Wynne, Chief Executive Officer Leadership Greater Chicago


I first met Jan in 1979 at the Newberry Library program in quantitative history where she served as my instructor. We remained fast friends these odd 40 years. She was always someone to whom one could turn to for advice and support of all kinds, always taking a keen, empathic interest in the issue preoccupying me. I recall returning to Notre Dame from my UCLA interview in Feb 1985; a blizzard stranded me in Chicago and she took me in for the night. We spent the evening dissecting the two day interview and assessing my prospect for getting the job. It was cathartic, and she was there to nurse me along encouragingly but realistically as well. She was a great researcher. I remember stumbling into her office once where she had before her the early prototype for a non-main frame office computer, a large, clunky thing which pioneered the use of floppy disks. IBM had made her a test site for the innovation, which of course eventually metamorphosed into the laptop. I was proud to serve on the committee which brought her to UCLA in the FTE for quantative history, a controversial position the late Eric Monkkonen had fought hard to obtain. She certainly distinguished herself in the role. I spoke to her not long ago and tried to persuade her to retire. But ever so dedicated, she insisted on soldiering on. I will miss her.  --Albion Urdank


Jan was simply fabulous. It is not a word that I use often, but she was a wonderful human being--kind, thoughtful, collaborative, engaging, welcoming, talented, and pleasant. I am fortunate to have worked with her on common interests that support students. I will miss her.  --Youlonda Copeland-Morgan


Professor Reiff was one of my first professors at UCLA. Her lectures in the Sixties cluster were always engaging and rich with her valued knowledge. Her passion for history was admirable and inspiring. There is still much to learn from her. Countless students will remember her impact on their academic lives fondly. She will be greatly missed.  --Megan Vidovich


Jan was an extraordinary advisor to me, rigorous but warm, challenging but supportive. Her passing is a terrible loss to UCLA and to humanity.  --Josh Sides


Jan was a leader and a mentor at UCLA, and I am so grateful to have known her. She offered terrific advice while also allowing her juniors to find their way and their voice. Her service to UCLA was immeasurable, and it is hard to imagine this campus without her.  --Jessica Cattelino


Jan your brightness shined through every day. I'm honored to have crossed paths with you and had the privilege to know you. You have inspired so many of us, your commitment to UCLA and our students was palpable. Gone to soon my friend. Thank you for the many intangible gifts you shared. Love Seppy  ---Suzanne (Seppy) Seplow


Jan was a beloved colleague of several decades with whom I served on various Senate committees and frequently consulted for advice on all things information policy and technology. We had memorable lunches and hallway chats. Our last conversation was about her wavering decision on when to take her retirement. She was deeply committed to her teaching, while also welcoming the opportunity to focus more on her research and writing. She had so many ideas ready to pour out for the rest of us, gems of wit and wisdom. Jan deserved a long and fruitful retirement, which alas, she did not get. It is hard to contemplate a return to the UCLA Faculty Center without at least one quick and brilliant hallway exchange with Jan. She will be much missed by those of us who knew her. Jan leaves a lasting legacy of contributions to UCLA, UC, and to scholarship.  ---Christine Borgman


Jan always was quick to offer a smile in the face of serious challenge. She was an excellent collaborator and knew how to bring people together to solve difficult problems. Jan took on the unpopular, difficult administrative concerns and found ways to make it an educational and fulfilling process. She brought great insight and heart to whatever she took on. She was kind and welcoming to all and she will be sorely missed.  ---Amy Blum


Jan was a person of unlimited passions, interests, and curiosities. She also was connected to everyone... one of those people who I could always count on to tell me who I should talk to about my latest idea. I didn't know Jan well outside the university, but we did have many conversations about when and how to retire. I remember thinking: I can't imagine what Jan would look like "retired." I guess we'll never know. I miss her very much; she leaves a big hole on campus that will not be easily filled.  ---Jim Stigler


While I never had the chance to introduce myself to Professor Reiff officially, her kindness and brilliance will always be special to me during such a hard year. As an incoming freshman starting my journey at UCLA online, her lectures, insight, and personal touch allowed me to feel welcome, like I had a community I could reach out to. As a student in the "Sixties" GE Cluster, I mourn her loss and send my heartfelt sympathy to her family. It was a joy and a privilege to be able to know her.  ---Ariana Perez


Professor Reiff Was one of the most brilliant minds I have ever encountered in my time here at UCLA. Her knowledge of history and compassion for each and every student that she came into contact with made her so well liked and admired. I will forever be indebted for all that she did for me and my peers while I was in her Cluster 60 course. She will be dearly missed and her legacy will live on through all the hearts and lives that she has touched with her brilliant mind and unwavering efforts to educate new generations of students over the years.  ---Michael Mendoza


I am deeply saddened to hear this news. She was one of my professors for the Cluster 60 series this year. Whenever she taught a lecture, you could always tell that she was actually interested in what she was teaching and wanted us to enjoy the content as much as she did. May she rest in peace.  ---Savannah Torella


I'm deeply saddened to hear of Jan's passing. She was a great citizen of the university who dedicated so much of her time to thinking how technology could be a source of greater access and edification for all. She was taken too early from us and will be sorely missed. May her memory be a blessing to all privileged to know her.  ---David Myers