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Oxy Makes the Grade

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When Evelyn Thompson Kieffer '40 was 7, her parents built a home reminiscent of their Maine roots across the street from Occidental College—a place that she calls home today. As the daughter of Guy A. Thompson, professor of American literature at Occidental from 1921-41, she was keenly interested in what was happening on campus. Her curiosity was shared by her dog, which would frequently show up uninvited at President Remsen Bird's house.

As a student at Occidental, Evelyn had to take a class from her father, which she concedes was "a little bit nerve-wracking." She followed closely in his footsteps, teaching English literature and History of Civilization at Occidental from 1943-63 and building her own reputation as a tough grader. Once, after the first day of classes, Evelyn got a report back from one of her readers that a group of students had been conversing and they believed that "Miss Thompson" would be a pushover. "My reader was afraid to tell them the truth," she says, chuckling at the memory.

Evelyn taught at Occidental until 1963, when her husband, Pasadena book dealer Jay Kieffer, complained that he was tired of her bringing her work home every night. (Fittingly enough, Jay converted the six-car garage of their onetime Pasadena home into an array of bookshelves for inventory purposes.) After a year or so, Evelyn decided to return to work, first as a zoning coordinator for Sutro and Co. and later as director of development for USC's School of Education, retiring in the 1980s.

Feeling "it was time to do something for Oxy," Evelyn created a charitable gift annuity arrangement with the College that will generate a fixed income stream for the remainder of her life and ultimately benefit the College.

In addition to the lifetime income and charitable deduction that a charitable gift annuity arrangement provides Evelyn, she has the satisfaction of knowing that the proceeds will eventually be used to support Occidental's educational mission. And that's an A-plus effort any day.