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University of Minnesota Retirees Association.


Monthly Meeting Schedule and Speakers

UMRA’s members gather at 11:30 at the Campus Club, in Conference Room ABC, on the fourth floor of Coffman Union, on the 4th Tuesday of each month, for lunch, good fellowship, and an interesting speaker.

Meeting Reservations ARE Required

Reservation Deadline is always the Thursday before the meeting

Please phone or email your reservations and send your check payable to UMRA for $16 for each reservation to:

UMRA Reservations
c/o Judy Leahy Grimes
1937 Palace Ave
St. Paul, MN 55105-1728

Or, contact her before the deadline at 651-698-4387 or

Please honor the reservation deadline date; if cancellations are necessary, please let us know by noon the preceding Thursday.

September 23, 2014 Luncheon Meeting

Hubert Humphrey III to talk about avoiding scams aimed at seniors. The Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act of 2010 directed the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) to create an agency office to address the needs of older Americans. Given the task of improving the financial decision-making of seniors and preventing unfair, deceptive, and abusive practices targeted at seniors, the Bureau turned to Hubert Humphrey III (better known as Skip) to be the first director of the office.

After 10 years in the Minnesota State Senate, 16 years as Minnesota Attorney General, and State President and national board member of Skip HumphreyAARP, Skip was well qualified to take on the duties of that office.

In the press release announcing his appointment, the acting head of the Bureau said, “Skip is a great leader. He’s a consumer protector, and he knows that consumer education is a critical complement to tough enforcement measures.”

So, fresh from opening the Older Americans office for the U. S. Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, he will join the members of UMRA at our September 23 luncheon, speaking on the topic, “Scams for Seniors to Avoid.”

Skip attended American University in Washington, D.C, while his father served as U.S. Senator from Minnesota and Vice President. He earned his B.A. in Political Science in 1965 and returned to Minnesota to complete his Juris Doctor at the University Law School in 1969.

In 1972 he was elected to the Minnesota Senate, and in 1983 he was elected Minnesota Attorney General for 16 years, during which he was elected President of the National Association of Attorneys General. He served as partner of the law firm Foster, Waldeck, Lind, and Humphrey. He now lives with his wife, Nancy Lee in Golden Valley and is the owner of Humphrey Consulting Services.

Mr. Humphrey has served in many board and advisory roles: At the Minnesota Law School, Shattuck St. Mary’s Schools, the Humphrey Institute at the U of M, Harvard University’s Institute of Politics, the President’s Council on Sustainable Development, Hamline University, and the Society of Attorneys General Emeritus.

He has won many awards including the World Health Organization’s Tobacco-Free World Prize, the U of M Outstanding Achievement Award, the lung Association of New York’s Annual Life and Breath Award.

We welcome Skip Humphrey to UMRA and look forward to his visit with us. — Hal Miller, UMRA President

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Special "Behind the Scenes" Tour of new Northrop follows September luncheon

At the close of UMRA’s September luncheon meeting, UMRA members will be treated to a special “behind the scenes” tour of the New Northrop. When you sign up for the luncheon, please indicate if you intend to attend the tour, so the Northrop staff can plan accordingly.

With its stately columns, iconic Northrop has long represented the University to Minnesotans. Most of us can recall events we attended at Northrop Auditorium. As a freshman at St. Margaret’s Academy I sat in the first row of the balcony when the entire school attended a concert of the Minneapolis Symphony Orchestra. In the ’60s, I sat in row five on the first floor to hear Joan Baez sing ballads and almost in the same seat 30 years later to learn about glasnost and perestroika from Eduard Shevardnadze. Northrop has opened the world—learning, culture, and critical issues—to University students and to the people of Minnesota.

The University recognized the value of Northrop, but alas over the years, did not invest adequately in its upkeep. The first week I took on my assignment as vice president for University Services in September 2002, a piece of the decorative plasterwork fell to the floor in Memorial Hall, the grand entrance to Northrop—fortunately, not hitting anyone. It was clear that Northrop needed attention.

Throughout the years, more than a dozen committees had been tasked by succeeding administrations to determine the future of Northrop. A comprehensive forensic study, done in 2004, documented that every system (heating, air conditioning, electrical, plumbing, ventilation, windows) required immediate attention and complete replacement. The restoration of Northrop could not be a piecemeal job. Cost estimates also demonstrated that if the University were to spend tens of millions of dollars restoring it, then the building had to serve the University’s mission, academic programs, and community, each and every day.

In 2005, President Bruininks appointed yet another committee on the future of Northrop. steven Rosenstone, then dean of the College of Liberal Arts, and I co-chaired the group of about 16 members including deans, faculty, students and University advocates. Meetings were held with members of the U community and the state’s cultural leaders.

It was a student member’s observation that inspired the vision for the “New Northrop.” she said, “Northrop is like a church. It stands in the middle of campus, dark and empty most of the time. But you go to Northrop for important events—for orientation as a freshman, for graduation, and for a few special events in between.”

Yes! the committee recognized. Northrop needed to come alive. It needed to be the center of the University’s mission and its academic life.

Achieving this vision took four years, an investment of almost $100 million, and the coordinated work of a worldclass team of architects, engineers, specialists in acoustics and theater design, deconstruction specialists, and construction managers. They removed the entire interior of the 80-year-old building, except for Memorial Hall, and built the New Northrop inside. An extremely complex project, it has received international recognition.

It is impossible in this space to recognize all those who contributed to the success of this effort. Let it be said that it took the entire Board of Regents, President Bruinink’s persistence, Vice President Rosenstone’s leadership, and the work of many, many others. Of note: UMRA members will remember Professor Judith Martin, who, in the last year of her life, served as an academic shepherd and donated funds to restore a wpA mural in the building.

The “New Northrop” celebrated its reopening last spring. The restoration truly has achieved the vision of bringing Northrop into the center of the University’s academic life. Northrop is a multi-purpose, state-of-the-art cultural center with upgraded acoustics and sightlines. It is home to the University Honor’s Program, the Center for Advanced Studies, and the College of Design’s Travelers Innovation Lab. It has seminar rooms, classrooms, and a café; it has doubled East Bank study space. It is lit up and alive every day. The New Northrop brings the world to the University. And, Northrop is bringing the University to the world.

— Kathleen O’Brien, UMRA Board member

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Program Committee (2014-15)

Jean Kinsey (President-Elect & Chair),, 651-636-8636
John S. Adams (Immediate Past President),;; 612-925-1340
Harold Miller (President),;
Kathy O'Brien,, 612-722-8475
Richard H. Skaggs;;
Shirley Zimmerman,, 952-926-8644
Ron Anderson;;
Van Linck,, 651-490-1385
Earl Nolting,, 651-633-4333

The Program Committee is always looking for good speaker ideas. If you have any suggestions, please contact Jean Kinsey(

Clif Ware

In the final Luncheon of the year 2014, Clif Ware regaled us with wit and music that we all knew, this from "Fiddler on the Roof"


Speakers April 2014

April speakers Henry Blackburn, Carol Miller, & Jack Zipes being introduced by Ron Anderson before they each spoke about their PDGR projects


Lance Brockman presents

March 25 Speaker Lance Brockman lucidly and animatedly explained the "Theater of the Fraternity" to an attentive umra audience


Lowell Noteboom

On February 25, 2014, Lowell Noteboom very clearly explained the situation of Orchestras including the SPCO and the Minnesota Orchestra -- just weeks after the MOA lockout was settled



Bob Holt applied economic and political history from postwar Germany, Italy, and Britain to help us understand today's world at the January, 2014 Luncheon


Deborah Swackhamer

Deborah Swackhamer shared what we know and still need to know about Minnesota's water at the final meeting of 2013, November 19