ANR Employees
University of California
ANR Employees

In memoriam: Peggy Michel

Peggy Michel
Peggy Michel, former deputy to the assistant vice president for Business Operations, died July 22. She was 64. The experienced scuba-diving enthusiast died after a shallow dive while on vacation in the Cayman Islands and the cause of death wasn't immediately known.  

Michel joined ANR in 1992 as an administrative assistant II for the Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education Program, based in the UC Office of the President in Oakland. In 1994, she joined the Office of Governmental and External Relations (OGER) as an assistant to then-executive director Steve Nation, who dubbed her "Radar," like the MASH TV show character, for her uncanny knack of anticipating things that needed to be done.

As an OGER member, she helped form and provide staff support for the UC President's Advisory Commission on Agriculture and Natural Resources and the UC president's tours for regents and agricultural leaders. She also gathered information for requests from legislative offices.

In 2007, Michel transitioned to work in the vice president's office. In 2010, Michel became deputy to the associate vice president for business operations and senior staff to the Administrative Review Council, which designed and implemented the reorganization of ANR business operations functions.

This photo with an angelfish was Michel's ANR directory profile photo.
“Her professional reputation and work ethic at UCOP made her sought after for committees, advice, wisdom and collegial interaction,” said Kay Harrison Taber, former AVP for business operations.

When Taber retired in 2012, Michel became deputy to then-assistant vice president for business operations Tu Tran.

In her ANR directory listing, Michel displayed her passion for diving with a photo of herself in scuba gear underwater.

Michel retired in 2013 after serving ANR for 21 years and moved to Long Island, NY, to join her husband, Keith, who was appointed president of Webb Institute, the country's foremost school of naval architecture and marine engineering. 

The New York native's diverse experience in Pan American Airways customer service, as a baker and owner of her own wedding cake business, and organizing events for ANR served her well as Webb's First Lady, as she engaged with students, hosted formal dinners, did fundraising, managed staff and facilitated search committees for senior staff.

“Peggy was truly loved at Webb,” said Keith Michel. “The board has established a Peggy Michel Memorial Fund. Webb will be creating a garden/courtyard area overlooking our new academic center and Long Island Sound, which will be named the Peggy Michel Garden. They are also establishing a scholarship fund in her name.”

To donate, checks can be made out to “Webb Institute” with “Peggy Michel Memorial Fund” in the memo line or by credit card gift online.

Michel is survived by Keith, their son Josh and his wife Marybeth, sister Isabelle McVickar and several nieces and nephews.

The family is planning a celebration of her life in California on Sept. 8 at Scott's Restaurant in Jack London Square, from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. The restaurant asked for a headcount by Aug. 29. If you plan to attend, please send an email to or to Kay Taber at

Ben, left, was one of a pair of groupers that Michel named Ben and Jerry.

 [Updated Aug. 2 to add details about the memorial in California.]




Posted on Thursday, July 26, 2018 at 3:52 PM

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