10 QUESTIONS: Sue Kalish


Sue Kalish has been a community volunteer for more than 35 years, with most of her efforts focused on children and education. She served as the president of the Foundation of La Jolla High School, and PTA president at Muirlands and La Jolla High. She also served as fundraising co-chair for Project S.P.L.A.S.H., La Jolla High’s Capital Campaign to build an Aquatic Center and Technology Center. She was a founding member of Kids Aid Auxiliary for the San Diego Center for Children, as well as president of Las Patronas.

Currently, Kalish is president of UCSD Town and Gown, whose mission is to integrate residents into the life of UC San Diego and support the university through student scholarships. She is also on the committee for the 129th Anniversary Celebration for the San Diego Center for Children, the oldest children’s charity in town, which provides services to our most vulnerable population. This year’s gala, “Blues Thursday,” is set for 5:30 p.m. June 2 at The U.S. Grant Hotel. Tickets at

Kalish was a 2006 Salvation Army Woman of Dedication and 2007 Volunteer of the Year for San Diego Magazine’s Charitable Events Registry.

What brought you to La Jolla?

My husband and I moved to La Jolla in the mid 1980s when he took a sabbatical from teaching. It was supposed to be a one-year sabbatical, but once we got here, we extended it for a second year. When we went back to Orange County, we realized that we wanted to live in La Jolla permanently, so we moved back for good.

What might you add, subtract or improve in the area?

La Jolla is so physically beautiful. Unfortunately, that beauty is now marred by the stench at The Cove. My magic wand would definitely be used to eradicate the odor, so we can enjoy our beautiful beaches once again.

Who or what inspires you?

Generosity of time, spirit and treasure inspires me. We are so fortunate to live in a community that is invested in making our world a better a place.

I’m personally inspired to make a difference with the San Diego Center for Children, a nonprofit that helps children and families in need. I have been involved with the Center’s efforts for over 20 years when I joined the Kids Aid Auxiliary that served the Center.

Since that time, I continue finding different ways to be involved and I’m excited to be a part of their event committee for this year’s 129th Anniversary Celebration.

If you hosted a dinner party for eight, whom (living or deceased) would you invite?

I think I need to make my table a little bigger. Besides my husband, I would include Theodore Roosevelt, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Oscar Hammerstein, Clara Breed, Elon Musk, Steve Martin, Tina Fey and my two grandmothers, who were so influential in my life. I would love to know what they think about our world today.

What are you reading?

I’m in two book groups, so my current books are “The Nightingale,” by Kristen Hannah and “Americanah,” by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie.

What is it that you most dislike?

Judgmental people.

What clothing item in your closet will you never part with?

I’m not really attached to any article of clothing, but I would feel very sad if I woke up and found a closet that did not include my exercise shoes, clothes and a baseball cap.

What do you do for fun?

Walk, play bridge (it’s fun when it’s not frustrating) and be with my friends.

What is your motto or philosophy of life?

Be kind, appreciative and enjoy each day to the fullest.

What would be your dream vacation?

My dream vacation would be any vacation with my two daughters and their families, which includes three grandsons. We all just celebrated my birthday in Kauai. Any day you spend with three little boys is magical.