Synopsis of UMRA Activities
Strategic Planning Reports, 2012
Retiree Encore Reports
Service Engagement Committee Reports
At monthly luncheons throughout the academic year, members renew long-standing friendships with former colleagues, make new acquaintances, and strengthen a sense of connection with the university community. Each month speakers from within and outside the university address a variety of scholarly, informative, and entertaining topics. Luncheons are currently held on the fourth Tuesday of the month at the Campus Club.
At a general luncheon meeting each spring, members elect association officers and conduct other business. Each year, UMRA invites new faculty and staff retirees to join the organization and seeks ways to encourage existing members to participate in association activities. Membership Form (Word document).
In addition to this website, UMRA publishes a monthly newsletter reporting on association activities and providing information on health care issues, alumni activities, Regents’ decisions, and other matters of interest to the membership.
UMRA actively promotes improvements in faculty and staff retirement benefits. UMRA also tracks discussions of and seeks improvements in health insurance coverage for retirees. Additional descriptions of UMRA activites are given in the section called Member Benefits and How to Join
Some months, when the weather is nice, we will go as a group to an interesting location to take photos; share ideas about effective seeing, composition, and technique; and conclude with light refreshments. At other times, we will gather to share photos, hear educational presentations, and socialize. These indoor meetings will generally take place in late afternoon, from 4:30 to 6:00 PM.
Currently, meetings are being held in 120E Learning and Environmental Sciences building on the St. Paul Campus.
For current information on the photo club, contact Victor Bloomfield.
The UMRA Book Club was founded in March of 2011. It meets on the third Friday of every month at 2 p.m. at 1666 Coffman near the St. Paul campus. This July and August we read and discussed The Grace of Silence by Michelle Norris and State of Wonder by Ann Patchett. The book for September 21st is Huckleberry Finn. The October 19th book is The Warmth of Other Suns by Isabel Wilkerson. For November 16th, we’ll be reading Out Stealing Horses by Per Petterson. So far we’ve had an interesting mix of fiction and non-fiction books chosen by our members. Our 2013 book list will be created at our fall meetings with no meeting planned for December
January 15, 2013 update:.The UMRA Book Club continues to meet on the third Friday of each month at 2:00 p.m. at the 1666 Coffman Building near the St. Paul campus.
We will read the following books in the first few months of 2013.
January: A SLAVE IN THE WHITE HOUSE by Elizabeth Dowling Taylor
February: THE RAZOR'S EDGE by Somerset Maugham
March: THE ROUNDHOUSE by Louise Erdrich
April: EVERYTHING YOU WANTED TO KNOW ABOUT INDIANS BUT WERE AFRAID TO ASK by Anton Treuer
--Contact Pat Tollefson, firstname.lastname@example.org, for more information.
On August 23, a Retreat for strategic planning met for 5 hours with 27 UMRA Key People (UMRA officers, Board members, and UMRA Committee members). Also, Provost Karen Hanson met with us for an hour. After a productive and civil hour-long discussion with her, she agreed to write a letter saying better use of retirees as a resource, with an eye towards a Retiree Center, is a high priority initiative for the University. With this commitment, it will be easier for us to get funding (both internal and external) to continue the planning process. Presumably, this will include data collection both from retirees as well as key University administrators. You will hear more about this in the coming months. The following planning reports are available as PDF files at these links on the UMRA website::
Advance Documents for UMRA Retreat (32 pages)
Summary of Pre-retreat Survey on Strategic Issues (15 pages)
Opening Presentation with Statistical Data on Retirees (15 pages)
Action Items and Retreat Meeting Notes (11 pages)
These reports from UMRA members were collected in web surveys beginning in August, 2012, again in October, and from November 1 to January 2013.This is part of our attempt to document retiree professional contributions, especially service to the U of MN, and remarkable events of special interest to fellow retirees. The UMRA Board endorsed this ongoing compilation of information.
Member opinions on this report would be appreciated, e.g., to what extent does this information serve a useful function and in what ways can it be used, e.g., as evidence of the potential contributions retirees can offer the University? If there is valuable information from the survey and it will help us in some way in the future, how might the questions be improved and in what order should they appear?
has chosen the following recipients for three 2013 UMRA Awards for service, to be recognized at the May 28 annual Meeting.
Award for Service to UMRA: Judy Leahy Grimes
UMRA members know Judy as the efficient volunteer who, after participating in our “revolving reservations management” for a couple of years, stepped up to take responsibility as full-time reservationist for 2012-13. This has been an invaluable service.
Judy goes about her work with such quiet grace that few of us realize just what it takes to manage the reservations. She handles 75 to 100 reservations and payments every month, which sometimes involves dozens of phone calls, letters, and emails. At luncheons she manages the sign-in desk and name tags, greets members, and provides the list of new members and visitors to the president for his anouncements. Besides this critical role she also is volunteering to play a key role in the preparation for UMRA’s hosting of the AROHE conference in 2014.
Award for Service to the University: Paul Rosenblatt
Although he retired two years ago, Paul Rosenblatt not only continues to go into his office every day to write and do research, but he also continues in service to his department and its community of faculty and students. He is still advising five doctoral students, serving on the committees of 15 other grad students, and mentoring other students informally. In addition, he offers freely of his time to consult with colleagues about research and teaching problems.
He is an exemplary role model for retirees who want to keep their professional networks and provide help as needed to their department communities, asking for no direct reward in return. His books on families, couples, race relations, and grief—all still in print—provide an indirect service to a vast number of individuals and families around the world.
Award for Service to the Community: Gary C. McVey
After retiring in 1996 from teaching at the University of Minnesota-Crookston and as a scientist at the Northwest Experiment Station, Gary McVey continued to teach and consult until 1999. That year he and his wife embarked on a 14-year association with the Evangelical Lutheran Church Mission Builders, first in construction, and then pre-construction and design consulting with churches and camps.
Also active with the Habitat for Humanity Chapter in Kerr County, Texas, he helped build 25 homes and served on the local Habitat’s board of directors. Since his retirement he has volunteered 3,428 hours to Habitat to Humanity home construction and 5,440 hours to the Mission Builder construction projects, a total of 8,868 hours.
For the past five years he and his wife Nancy have delivered Meals on Wheels. In 2011 he helped establish the Marines Cpl. Jacob C. Leicht AMVET Post 1000 (Jacob was the 1000th soldier killed in Afghanistan) and served as vice commander for two years.
This extraordinary record of volunteering makes Gary C. McVey eminently suitable for the UMRA award for service to the Community.
— Victor Bloomfield, chair,
UMRA Service Engagement Committee