2017-10 From the President: Behind the scenes

UMRA Board News

When some members mentioned that they would like to hear more of what goes on behind the scenes, the Executive Committee thought it would be a good idea to have a report from the Board of Directors. I plan to devote many of the president’s columns this year to such news.

The Board always meets in the morning immediately preceding the monthly luncheon day. Our first meeting was September 26. A few highlights:

  •  Follow-up to MOU. The long-sought Memorandum of Understanding agreement with the University became official with the Provost’s signature in early April. A major focus this year will be to make it a living document, and the Council of Past Presidents is spearheading this effort under co-chairs Jean Kinsey and John Adams. What more can retirees do for the University and vice versa? You will have the opportunity to answer that question at the UMRA “town hall” meeting at the October luncheon.
  •  Recruiting breakthrough. A University ruling more than a year ago that privacy rules impeded the release of new retiree contact information to UMRA posed a serious threat to our recruiting. Despite ongoing efforts, it was not until UMRA member and former General Counsel Bill Donohue went to bat this summer that we finally were able to regain access to the lists. Membership Committee chair John Anderson reports that the recent emailing to four months of new retirees has already yielded responses.
  •  Issues of growth. With projected retirements steadily increasing and most luncheons already filling up well before the registration deadline, the Board will look at strategies for accommodating growth, from a new luncheon venue or schedule to the creation of a wider range of activities for member involvement.
  •  Open positions. We are still seeking a Discount Coordinator (to confirm or renegotiate annually discounts for UMRA members, e.g., for parking, bookstore purchases, etc.), as well as additional members for the UMRA Cares Committee (supporting spouses/partners and family grieving a death or facing extended hospitalization, planning monthly workshops, and assembling care-related resources). New members and ideas are also needed for the newly established Social Activities Committee (options for member involvement beyond the monthly luncheons), and the History Committee (organization of UMRA materials for the U Archives and research on UMRA’s history).

Please contact me if you are willing to serve.
— Chip Peterson, UMRA President 2017–18

 c-pete@umn.edu