Alan Jeffery ’65 (Psychology) steers his boat on Westlake Lake with the same steady hand that he developed while serving in the U.S. Navy during the Vietnam War. He wanted to help provide the same steady course for his alma mater, California State University, Northridge — and CSUN’s Heritage Society offered just the right bearing.
Jeffery and his wife, Rose, recently made a planned gift to the College of Social and Behavioral Sciences through the Heritage Society — a gift that will help provide for future generations of CSUN students.
“A few years ago, I went back to CSUN and was so impressed with what had transpired there, and where the graduates were ending up,” said Alan, now retired as an independent insurance broker serving major corporations after a career in human resources and employee benefits in the banking industry. “I learned about the Heritage Society and wanted to get involved.
“The Heritage Society offered an opportunity to contribute based on your estate planning,” he said. “It was very attractive. It’s a way for people who may not have access to large funds currently to contribute when they’re no longer here. Those funds that you were saving in case of a need can be released to do some good.”
A Los Angeles native, Jeffery moved from LA to the San Fernando Valley with his family at age six. When it was time to choose a college, he wanted to stay close to home.
“I had started at UCLA and found it way too big,” he said. “It didn’t work for me, so I transferred to CSUN. I was so glad I did. I felt much more comfortable at CSUN, and my classes were much smaller. I was interested in psychology, but I didn’t end up pursuing it as a career. I think [the psychology degree] helped though, working in human resources through so much of my career.”
After graduation from what was then San Fernando Valley State College, Jeffery went to work for Great Western Savings before joining the Navy.
“I joined the Navy to see the world, but I got assigned to Coronado and then Port Hueneme!” he said. “I never really got out of Southern California.”
After his honorable discharge from the Navy, one of Jeffery’s former colleagues at Great Western Savings helped connect him to a new position at Security First National Bank, where he rose to manager in human resources. He worked in insurance and employee benefits for the bank, which eventually became part of Bank of America. Jeffery coordinated health benefits and implemented the bank’s first preferred provider organization (PPO) — the first in the nation for a major corporation — as well as traveling the country giving presentations about the experience. Later, he became vice president of a PPO and ultimately ran his own brokerage firm, retiring after many years of coordinating benefits.
“I can trace my accomplishments back to my time at CSUN,” said Jeffery, who recalled that he made the connections that led to his first job at Great Western Savings after answering a posting on a Valley State job board during his senior year.
“I am so impressed with what CSUN has done since I [attended],” he added. “It’s become one of the leading universities, with the number of teachers it produces, the number of accountants and lawyers who [earn their undergraduate degrees at] CSUN, people in the motion picture industry and the number of prominent alumni. I just felt that it’s nice to give back — it’s important that people give back to their roots.”
In retirement, Alan and Rose enjoy boating on the manmade Westlake Lake in Westlake Village, where Alan has served as commodore of the Westlake Yacht Club. They also enjoy traveling, golfing, theater, visiting CSUN and participating in the Heritage Society, he said. The Heritage Society is a group of forward-thinking individuals, like the Jefferys, who have established a gift to CSUN through their estate plans.
“I graduated from what’s turned out to be a great school, and I’d like to see that continue,” Jeffery said. “Everyone who graduates from CSUN should be really, really proud — and they should think about giving back.”