2021-01 From the President: Looking forward to a vibrant new year

I hope, in spite of the challenges, you have a satisfactory and gratifying holiday season. UMRA, with your support, made it through 2020 and is looking forward to a vibrant new year.

At the UMRA Board meeting in November, the University of Minnesota Foundation (UMF) made a presentation on the University campaign, DrivenThe campaign is well on its way to exceeding the $4 billion goal, and UMRA giving has been a solid part of this success. 

UMRA members have contributed $30.8 million, including $3.9 million in the last year. Eighty-four percent of UMRA members have made gifts to student, staff, and faculty support; research; outreach and community engagement; and capital projects.

In May 2020, UMRA turned to Zoom for presenting our monthly UMRA A.M., Living Well Workshop, and Forum. The Office of Information Technology (OIT) has been very generous in providing technical support, but with the University’s financial challenges, OIT will need to begin charging us for their support services at approximately $400 for each event.  

UMRA member Virgil Larson is leading an effort to achieve UMRA technical self-sufficiency with the establishment of a Zoom interest group; email Virgil if you are interested.  

Support our Zoom presentations
Given the continuing need for OIT technical support and the stress on UMRA’s budget while UMRA volunteers are being trained, UMRA needs to ask the membership for a voluntary contribution of $20 each. Please read “Support our Zoom presentations” by Bill Donohue for more information, and go to umra.umn.edu to Support Zoom Programming

Several of you have experienced the cancellation of your umn.edu access to Zoom meeting hosting services and other OIT-sponsored software, apparently as cost savings for the University. See “Deactivation of retiree access to Zoom services.” [page 6] UMRA leadership is working on a solution to provide UMRA committees and special interest groups with free access to use Zoom to host meetings. You can find instructions can find on our website forusing the UMRA Zoom account to host an UMRA meeting.

You do not need a Zoom account simply to attend any Zoom meeting or webinar. 

Donations to the PDGR fundraising effort continue, and I urge you to make a contribution if you have already not done so. 

If you have concerns, ideas, or needs, please contact your leadership. I look forward to another year of vitality for UMRA.

Stay safe and well.

—Frank B. Cerra, MD, UMRA president