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University of Minnesota Retirees Association
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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.

March 24, 2015 UMRA grant recipients take the stage with stories about their projects

Assisted by awards from an UMRA-initiated program—the Professional Development Grants for Retirees (PDGR)— University retirees have been able to pursue 62 projects over the past six years, making many different and important creative contributions.

Like the very successful PDGR presentations last year, this year's panel will provide a sampling of those contributions. Jan Hogan-Schiltgen, chair of the PDGR program, will moderate the panel.

This luncheon presentation and discussion has been designed not only to bring you relevant new knowledge and perspectives, but also to show first-hand how the grants program fits into (and adds to) the lives of retirees. The format will emphasize memoir experience rather than technical reports.

Philip O. Larsen, emeritus professor of plant pathology, will relate some stories about training Tanzanian farmers in advanced farm management. He is a former associate dean, College of Food, Agriculture and Natural Resource Sciences.

Philip LarsonIn 2012, Professor Larsen with his colleague Fred Bergsrud, emeritus professor of bioproducts and biosystems, received a PDGR grant supporting their volunteer work at the Institute of Agriculture at Tumaini University, Iringa, Tanzania.

Their roles were to advise, assist, and teach in a project that delivered maize seed and fertilizer at 44 crop demonstration sites in the Iringa region in central Tanzania and to teach fertilizer application, planting,
measuring yield, and weed management to local farmers at each site. Larsen will talk about this project and his experiences living for several weeks in rural Tanzania.

Travelers may wish to follow in their footsteps. Iringa, a city of 113,000 people at an altitude of 5,000 feet, has an ideal climate and lush, green terrain.

Ron Anderson, UMRA past-president and professor emeritus of sociology, received PDGR grants in 2009, 2013, and 2014. The last two supported his pioneering research on the concept and prevalence of suffering. With a topic that was new to him only five years ago, he has already REApublished two books.

Human Sufferingand Quality of Life was written in early 2014. He also edited World Suffering and Quality ofLife, which he says is, "the first book to address global suffering head-on."

With the intention to launch a new field of research, he is well into his third book, Alleviating Suffering. Ron Anderson will put forward answers to such questions as: Why is global suffering rising when poverty and hunger supposedly have declined? Is suffering greater for those with lower income, and if so, why? Why is the meaning of suffering different for the elderly? His brief presentation will show how visual images and icons of suffering differ across news media, entertainment media, social media, and the public sphere.

TBA: a third project grant recipient for this panel.

Corned Beef with Guinness
mustard over Colcannon Potatoes.
For vegetarian or gluten-free
options, please request when
making your reservations.

March 24 Living Well in Later Life Workshop: "Life is a Work of Art"

In March our workshop theme, exploring creativity, continues with Lucy rose Fischer, "Life is a Work of Art." The workshop begins at 1:30 p.m., in campus club ABC, following the luncheon program.

Lucy Rose Fischer— professor of sociology, noted expert in the study ofLucy Rose Fischer aging—turned to art for an encore career. After 25 years of teaching and researching aging, including at the U of M and HealthPartners research Foundation, she now devotes much of her energy to her art. a side passion while she directed studies and wrote award-winning academic articles in gerontology, Her art now has been shown in more than 50 exhibits and is on display in collections and public institutions. "Engaging art drew me into... recognizing and accepting the aging process within our own beings," she says.

She and her art have been shown in more than 50 exhibits, and she was featured on the public television programs "The Creative Power of Aging" and "Life Changing Art," which won a regional Emmy.

To come to terms with her own aging, she wrote and illustrated a book titled I'm New at BeBook covering Old, which received a Midwest Book Award and Independent Publishers Gold Award. With humor, imagination, and whimsical illustrations she deals with the issues of aging, including "the breakdown of movable parts," the "fear of an unraveling mind," and elusive sleep. Her positive attitude and humorous presentation is bound to lighten our days and energize our spirits. The book will be available for purchase at this workshop.

Plan to attend this workshop from 1:30 to 2:30 the Campus Club ABC room. All members, guests, and visitors are welcome.

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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(

M Osterholm

February speaker Michael Osterholm
discussed the why and how of epidemics Using Ebola as the example, After his presentation he chatted with Joseph Terry, MD

Tom Fisher

College of Design Dean Tom Fisher extrapolated that computer controlled manufacturing was as life-changing as the first two industrial revolutions, during our first meeting of 2015


John Adams

For November, John Adams brought his own antique presentation machine to display transparencies he has lovingly preserved throughout the 3rd industrial revolution

Mary Nichols

At the October meeting, Mary Nichols provided food for thought as she discussed the technologies that continue to be applied to education


Skip Humphrey

Hubert (Skip) Humphrey III spoke from a long career as a consumer advocate, "Scams for Seniors to Avoid" at the September, 2014 luncheon