2018-11 From the President: UMRA's engagement signals the value of all University retirees

By the time you read this column, we will have met with Regent Abdul Omari, chair of the U’s Presidential Search Committee. (A summary of the October 30 session will be posted on UMRA’s website.) This meeting is a direct outcome of our planning retreat last August in which a group, led by Bill Donohue, focused on ways for enhancing UMRA’s presence in the broader University community. 

In conjunction with this effort, several UMRA Board members have drafted a “perspective” piece on the importance of the University and its president to the state and nation. This will likely be distributed to media outlets following our meeting with Regent Omari. While our views may not significantly shape the selection of the new president, our engagement in the process sends important signals regarding the value and potential of UMRA and all University of Minnesota retirees.

We also have several other retreat-inspired ideas moving forward. To increase access to the content of our monthly programs, UMRA news editor Kris Mortensen has met with a number of technical experts to explore the creation of podcasts of our monthly speakers and workshops. This is a work in progress, but we hope to have more news to share in the coming months.

The Social Activities Committee is exploring the creation of pilot “neighborhood gatherings” of UMRA members. Organized by zip code, these gatherings could facilitate social interaction in addition to or in place of our monthly, large group gatherings, especially for members with mobility limitations. More to come!

Finally, we are hoping to move forward with an initiative that requires input from all UMRA members. We would like to hear from any of you who are aware of University departments or units who make a special effort to support and recognize their retirees. UMRA member Carl Adams has agreed to facilitate a work group to gather this information and perhaps create a “best practices” program, both to recognize units doing outstanding work with retirees and to encourage more units to undertake such activities. Please contact Carl at adams003@umn.edu if you have suggestions and/or are willing to help with this initiative.

Your thoughts and reactions to all of the above are important to us. Please let us know what you think.

—Jerry Rinehart, UMRA president