Recognize a Retiree

As your staff member approaches their retirement, it is customary to mark the occasion with words of congratulations, parting gifts, and perhaps a celebration. The following resources and suggestions are provided to guide you in recognizing a colleague who is achieving this final career milestone.

Retirement Gift Policy Highlights

  • University gift allowance: With advance approval by the Dean, Chair, or Major Department Head, a non-cash gift with a value up to $400 can be provided from University funds. Please be aware that the gift may not be charged to federal or non-federal grants. Refer to Policy 3303: Gifts from University Funds for more information.
  • Funding gifts exceeding the University allowance: If individuals wish to provide a larger gift to the retiring staff member that exceeds the University gift allowance, the difference between the value of the gift and the $400 allowance must be paid by the individuals making the gift. Individual contributions must be held separately and cannot be deposited to a University bank account and commingled with University funds.
  • Tax reporting: If a non-cash gift up to $400 is given to the retiring staff member, it does not need to be reported to the IRS. If a non-cash gift is greater than $400 or a gift certificate in any amount is given, it must be reported to the IRS. The amount will be added as taxable income to the retiring staff member’s payroll records. To report the amount, please contact Employee Services at 203-432-5552.

Refer to Policy 3303 Business Meals, Entertainment and Other Events for more details.

Gift Suggestions

Shop The Yale Collection for a curated selection of timeless pieces that represent the rich tradition and distinctive mission of Yale University. A popular gift within this collection includes Picturing This – a coffee table book that captures Yale’s breathtaking campus in stunning photos by University photographer, Michael Marsland. For an added touch, gift a leather-bound edition with an embossed cover. The book and many other items in the collection are often in stock and available the same or next day for delivery. View contact information to place an order and receive internal pricing. (A COA will be required.)

Need other ideas? Consider gifting a Yale chair/rocker or lamp. These treasured heirlooms make a wonderful memento of someone’s time at the University. To purchase, order from Standard Chair of Gardner and pay with a Yale purchasing card (if using the $400 allowance). Note: This item is offered in the staff service anniversary gift catalog for 30 years of service to the University. To find out if the retiring staff member has already received the chair (or rocker) through the gift program, contact the Staff Engagement & Recognition team at

Additional Recognition Opportunities

Send a Ycard

Send a beautiful Ycard, featuring a Yale image and a heartfelt note to your retiring staff member.

Create a Virtual Bulletin Board

Kudoboard is an easy-to-use online tool that lets colleagues express their well wishes, share gifs, and post photos on a personalized, virtual bulletin board for the retiree. (Think of it like the greeting card that gets passed around and signed, but in a more fun and customizable group ecard format.) Start the board in advance and display at a celebration or invite the recipient to log onto the website to view their board at their leisure.

Planning a celebration? Deliver the perfect send-off speech

Whether your retirement celebration is an in-person or virtual affair, speeches and toasts from colleagues are often the focal point of the event. If you have been called upon to deliver the parting words, a well-written and organized speech greatly reduces the anxiety around delivery, and can help win over audiences in a way the written word just can’t match.

To help you put your best foot forward, Kelley School of Business instructor Judy Steiner-Williams outlines the basics of speech writing and provides guidance on writing speeches with different purposes including those designed for a special occasion, such as a toastmaster. To get started, view her Writing Speeches course on LinkedIn Learning.

Additional resources and examples for developing retirement speeches include: