From the President Archives

Eric Hockert

2023-10: Are you engaged?

Are you engaged with all UMRA has to offer? Are you and your friends finding value in UMRA’s many activities, social events, forums, living well workshops, interest groups, and opportunities to serve in leadership and volunteer roles?
Eric Hockert

2023-09: A path to happiness

There are many paths to happiness. Examples include positive social relationships, service to others, and physical and intellectual exercise. I invite you to take part in some or all of what UMRA has to offer to help you lead a more fulfilling and happy life. 

Ron Matross

2023-05: UMRA in full

Gratitude is one of the nicest emotions, and as I write this, my last column as UMRA president, I’m feeling a wave of it. Many volunteers are needed to keep UMRA growing, and I am grateful to them all.

2023-04: Introducing the Silver Gopher Service Corps

UMRA members are great volunteers. We know from conversations and surveys that UMRA folks, as individuals, are volunteering in many places. But, up to this point, we haven’t done a lot of service projects as an organization. I think we should.

2023-03: On being new

UMRA members are generally a pleasant and congenial lot, but we are working to become more welcoming. And if you are a newcomer, I’d like to extend a special invitation to you to our March luncheon and forum, which will be held at the Midland Hills Country Club in Roseville. Please come a half hour early for a newcomers’ reception.

2023-02: Getting involved in UMRA

We know that people are most likely to get involved in something when they’re invited. So, consider this your invitation! Organizations do best when they have a mix of long-term members and newer people doing the work.

2023-01: A spring experiment

The UMRA Board has decided to experiment with an alternative venue for our spring 2023 in-person luncheon forums.

2022-11: We are not alone

Higher education institutions across the country have retiree organizations. We generally find a convergence in mission but many differences in organization and programs. It's fun and instructive to compare notes with the other associations.

2022-10: Programming modalities and mobility

After the long pandemic shutdown, many of us were excited to once again attend an in-person UMRA luncheon and forum in May. Zoom is great, but it can’t fully duplicate the experience of gathering in person—the table chats, the hallway conversations, the fun of meeting interesting new people. In person, you can experience nuance and serendipity to a much greater extent than you can when you are meeting virtually.

2022-09: We’re about opportunities

UMRA goes down to the corner bar one day to hang out with some other associations. One of them saunters up and says, “Hey UMRA! What’s your racket?” UMRA replies, “What’s my racket? Opportunities, pal, opportunities.”

And so it is. At its core, our association is all about providing opportunities to one another.

2022-05: Onward, UMRA!

This is my last column as UMRA president. Our forerunners in the organization had the wisdom to make this a one-year job, but with a required year of preparation as president-elect, and at least one year of service on the board as past-president. One thing I’ve learned so far—besides that the president needs to remember to bring the chocolate treats to the annual meeting—is that the energy of our members and their collective wisdom are what keep us moving and growing and rising to meet opportunities. 

2022-04: Welcome, spring!

As I write this in mid-March, the temperature outdoors is below zero, but my neighbors in rural Wisconsin are getting their equipment out in the woods ready to tap their trees. They’re anticipating the freeze/thaw weather that brings the sap and sugars so that they can make syrup. The trees feel spring coming before we do.

2022-03: Finding our way forward

In my circle of family and friends, where there was once agreement on what is safe behavior in the pandemic, there is now more clamor. COVID case numbers and positivity rates are declining, and we all want to spend time together again. But, while we each look at the same data from the Minnesota Department of Health, we take away very different conclusions about what to do with it.

2022-02: Who are we?

Have you ever had a conversation with someone about to retire from the University and heard something like, “I’ve heard about UMRA, but I don’t think I want to join the organization because it’s mostly retired (insert faculty/staff/other category)”?

2022-01: Bringing us together

January was named by the Romans for Janus, their god of change and beginnings. S/he is depicted as having two faces, one looking forward and one back. There are many different new year’s traditions around the world, some to bring closure to the old year and others to bring good fortune in the new. As I write this in dark December, I’m looking forward to 2022. UMRA board and committee members are working in several ways to bring us together in the new year.