Carnegie Mellon University

Group picture of the Retirement team's three members

March 05, 2024

Staff Highlight: Retirement Team

When it comes to planning for retirement, one can think of a three-legged stool; no matter where we are in the planning process, we all hope to retire one day with a comfortable seat in retirement. The legs of our retirement planning stool involve knowing our:

  • Goals
  • Options
  • Resources

The Retirement team at CMU is here to not only help the CMU community save for retirement but also to see you into retirement as a retiree. The team is responsible for the administration of CMU’s staff and faculty retirement plans and retiree benefits. Their duties include:

  • Helping employees navigate retirement resources and benefits to better understand the options available to plan their retirement goals
  • Providing employees with support as they near and transition into retirement
  • Partnering with our retirement provider, TIAA, for financial wellness education and individual retirement planning with resources for asset allocation and staying on track for those retirement goals

Most recently, the Retirement team collaborated with TIAA to improve the experience of managing our contributions by introducing online salary deferral elections. Employees can now log into TIAA's site directly to enroll and make changes to voluntary retirement contributions. Prior to this update, changes to contributions had to be made in Workday. This also allows for easy access to many of the online tools and calculators to better plan for that comfortable seat in retirement.

Introducing The Team

  • Chris Yoest, manager, retirement administration
    • What do you like most about working at CMU? What I enjoy about working with the CMU community is the diverse backgrounds that come together to make the university a success. Each one of us whether we are faculty, staff or student brings unique talents and strengths to paint a blank canvas into the vibrant canvas we know as our CMU community, regardless of the campus location. We want the CMU community to be able to achieve their retirement goals without having to spend their golden years working under the golden arches unless one chooses to do so.
    • Fun fact: I am on the board of directors for the Young Preservationists Association of Pittsburgh, where we strive to instill a passion of preserving the past for the future with the younger generation of the region. Age is just a number, and we are forever young at heart in the spirit of what Andrew Carnegie once said, "My Heart is in the Work."
  • Christine Rutkowski, retirement administrator
    • What do you like most about working at CMU? I enjoy the people I work with! As someone who was hired during the pandemic, everyone was really helpful and patient with me. I also work with our retirees, and I love hearing their stories about their time at CMU.
    • Fun fact: I was the first person in my family to attend and graduate from college.
  • Valerie Drwal, retirement administrator
    • What do you like most about working at CMU? What I love the most about working at CMU is the campus energy, it feels great to be surrounded by driven people who want to be here and are motivated to succeed!
    • Fun fact: I have received "fan mail" from every state in the United States. My daughter has a popular YouTube channel with 4 million subscribers, and her incredible fans always seem to remember her mom!

Resources and More Information

Find more information on CMU’s retirement benefits. If you are preparing for retirement, check out the Navigating Life Experiences: Retirement page for checklists and resources.