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.

The UMRA Program Committee under the leadership of President-elect Ron Matross has put together an outstanding lineup of forums and workshops for 2022, with featured presenters to include College of Liberal Arts Dean John Coleman; Regents Professor of Creative Writing and English and winner of the Thurber Prize for American Humor Julie Schumacher; Jessica Hellman, director of the Institute on the Environment; and Associate Professor of Political Science Kathryn Pearson on the results of the 2022 midterm elections.

We’re preparing to return to in-person luncheon forums, beginning in March, if public health conditions allow. There are plans in the works for one or more all-member social events over the summer. We’re also looking at how to continue to offer UMRA programs virtually so that members and guests can take part from wherever in the world they happen to be.

The Membership Committee is working on more ways to reach out to potential members and to engage those who have newly joined. Presently, UMRA members number 740+, an all-time high, but we know there are many more retirees who could enjoy the benefits of this organization.

The Communications & Outreach Committee is looking at ways to sharpen how we present ourselves, and in the coming year will oversee a top-to-toe refreshment of the UMRA website.

The Organizational Continuity Committee continues to improve our systems and practices so that UMRA will stay strong in the future.

And a working group made up of representatives of UMRA and the University Retirees Volunteer Center is considering ways that the two organizations can work together to strengthen and advance their complementary missions.

If you, like Janus, are looking both back and forward and have any comments to share about UMRA and our year ahead, please email. I’d like to hear from you.

Jan Morlock, UMRA president, jam@umn.edu