Meet Ken Noller, the 2016 – 2018 UCR Alumni Association President. Ken graduated from UCR in 1975 with a B.A. in History, followed by a teaching credential in 1976 and a M.A. in History in 1984. As a Riverside native, Ken attended Riverside Community College after graduating from Ramona High School and then transferred to UCR. He grew up with a passion for history and working with students and knew that UCR would help him achieve his goal of becoming a history teacher.
Ken taught for 36 years at Gage Middle School and retired in June 2013. Retirement life has been busy for Ken as he volunteers his time with the UCR Alumni Association and with the Assistance League of Riverside which includes packing over 800 lunches each Friday for underprivileged children. In future years to come, and when he can find some time, he plans to travel with his wife Nancy.
Ken has been a life member of the UCR Alumni Association since he graduated. He became more involved with the association when he started to serve on the scholarship committee. After years of serving on the committee, in 1998 a longtime friend who was serving on the UCR Alumni Association board of directors encouraged him to submit an application for a board position. Since then he has served in many roles on the Board of Directors including serving as chair of the Advocacy, Scholarship, and Membership and Marketing committees.
Get to know your new President:
UCRAA: How did UCR change your life?
KN: The teaching credential that I received from UCR provided the foundation for a career that I was passionate about. Professors that I had reaffirmed that love that I had for history. The education and history departments were huge contributors in guiding and supporting me towards my teaching career. UCR broadens students’ horizons and helps students really reach their potential.
UCRAA: What inspired you to go into your teaching?
KN: I had a passion and love for history as well as working with students, so I knew that a career in teaching would allow me to take these passions and inspire young minds. Once students started approaching me saying how they weren’t interested in history and that I had helped them become more interested in learning, I knew I had chosen the right career. Many of my past students are now teachers themselves and told me that I had influenced them to pursue a teaching career, and that means the world.
UCRAA: What advice would you give to a current UCR student or recent graduate?
KN: Develop as broad of a network of contacts as you can. Getting started in a career is difficult and your contacts are crucial. The most important thing is to choose a career that makes you happy and gives you satisfaction. There is no substitution for doing something that makes you happy and that you wake up every day enjoying.
UCRAA: As the President of the UCR Alumni Association, what do you hope to focus on these next few years?
KN: I would like to help the alumni scholarship fund reach its endowment goal. We are 2/3 of the way there and although we may have a few years until the goal is met, I want to make sure that during this year we get to a point where we see a light at the end of the tunnel. I also want to increase the opportunities for students and faculty by providing support, expertise and knowledge and find out how the association can better connect with them and help meet their goals and needs. Another goal is to get more alumni connected to UCR and bring them back to campus. You enjoy the campus so much more once you have your degree and a career in place.
UCRAA: How can alumni stay connected to campus?
KN: Join the UCR Alumni Association, get involved in chapters and clubs, and serve on committees within the association. The association is a great way to get involved and bring you back to campus for many events including sporting events, cultural events, networking opportunities and Homecoming. There’s no substitution to coming to campus and seeing the growth and change of the campus and community each time you visit. Seeing the diversity of the campus and students achieving their goals makes you appreciate, and be proud of your alma mater and your degree.
Ken, we thank you for your dedication and service to your alma mater and we look forward to the next two years as you serve as President.