UMRA Interest Groups

UMRA interest groups provide opportunity for community, fun and learning. 

Resources are available to support groups through virtual meetings, archives, continuity and communication and outreach through web, newsletter and email.  Learn about group access to these resources.

If you have a passion, start an UMRA group and share it.

Armchair Traveler

Come share the wonders of the world in the virtual company of other UMRA travel enthusiasts. We have three, 90-minute programs each year, and for 2021-22 these programs will again be offered via Zoom. Each program shares travel highlights from two speakers.  We have seen Mongolia, Dubai and Abu Dhabi, Germany, Hong Kong, China, Poland, the Muir Trail, Ecuador, and more. 

A Zoom invite will be sent out to all UMRA members via email a couple of weeks before each program.  For now, mark your calendars for 10-11:30 a.m. on More...

Book Club I

East Bank

The UMRA Book Club has been meeting regularly since March of 2011.  We meet at 2 p.m. on the third Friday of every month except December at the 1666 Coffman Building, which is on Larpenteur Avenue near the St. Paul Campus.  At the present time, though, we are meeting online via Zoom.

We plan our book schedule for the coming year at our November meeting.

We are eclectic readers, our books being from all time periods, fiction and nonfiction, and from various genres. Contact Pat Tollefson for more information (p-t More...

Book Club II: The Friendly Fourth Friday Book Club

Bruininks Hall, Skyline

The UMRA Book Club II is new and we welcome new readers.  We meet at 2 p.m. on the fourth Friday of every month except December.  At the present time, we are meeting online via Zoom.

We expect this club will be eclectic readers, fiction and nonfiction, although we are just learning what we will be. Contact Dorothy Mardan <> or Margarat Catambay <> for more More...

Family History

Descendant Wheel

Do you have a box or several albums of old family pictures that you are not quite sure what to do with?  Do you have letters and maybe other documents from your grandparents or great grandparents that are important to you to preserve?  Are there family stories that need to be written down for your grandchildren?  Or perhaps you just want to find out more about your ancestors and are not sure where or how to begin.

The UMRA Family History Interest Group was started in October 2020.  The idea is to learn how others have More...

Financial & Legal Issues Group

Bruininks Hall, Skyline

In 2017, the UMRA Board of Directors approved the creation of a Financial & Legal Issues Group (FLG). UMRA had sponsored various workshops on financial and legal issues in recent years. FLG is designed to permit greater depth and continuity of discussion to facilitate problem solving and resource identification of retiree's financial and legal issues. 

UMRA members interested in attending and/or contributing experiences or resources are welcome to contact Andy Whitman, FLG facilitator, at awhitma More...

Photo Club


The UMRA Photo Club is open to all UMRA members who have an interest in photography. We welcome photographers of all abilities. Most of us are struggling amateurs who like to take pictures and want to get better. We benefit from the kind help we get from each other.

We meet monthly to share photos and talk about different aspects of photography.  Recent meetings have started with “theme pictures”—club members contribute pictures related to a specific theme.  Members also share pictures of their own choosing.  Attend a meeting to More...

Zoom Techs

Sample opening slide

The purpose of the Zoom Special Interest Group is to help members understand how Zoom works and gain experience running Zoom meetings and webinars. Learning to use Zoom is analogous to learning to drive a car. There are a number of simple procedures that need to be done in the right sequence with the right timing to provide a smooth experience. Through practice these procedures become second nature. A secondary purpose is to develop a number of Zoom users who are willing and able to help run the Zoom events sponsored by UMRA.

The Zoom Special More...

Interest Group Events

Event Date:
Friday, September 17, 2021 - 2:00pm

Joni Mitchell will lead the discussion of Marcel’s Letters by Carolyn Porter when the UMRA Book Club I meets via Zoom on Friday, September 17. More …

Event Date:
Tuesday, September 21, 2021 - 11:00am

Humphrey School Senior Fellow Jay Kiedrowski will be joined by Professor and President Emeritus Robert Bruininks for this special forum to discuss the proposed amendments to the Minneapolis city charter that will be on the ballot in November.

Event Date:
Wednesday, September 22, 2021 - 11:30am

Join UMRA members Charles Muscoplat and Lynn C. Anderson to learn about their personal journeys through Europe and Scandinavia when UMRA’s Armchair Traveler program resumes September 22. More …

Event Date:
Friday, September 24, 2021 - 2:00pm

The Fourth Friday Book Club selection for its meeting on Friday, September 24, is Invisible Man by Ralph Ellison. More …

Event Date:
Tuesday, September 28, 2021 - 12:00pm
Dean, Medical School; VP of Health Sciences

Jakub Tolar, MD, PhD, will share with us the story of how the faculty, staff, and students at the University of Minnesota Medical School responded to the coronavirus pandemic in an unprecedented effort of adaptation, collaboration, and service.

Event Date:
Wednesday, October 13, 2021 - 10:00am

UMRA member Vicki Gaylord will share ways she has found to engage family members in the family history work she has done when the Family History Interest Group meets in October. More …

Event Date:
Friday, October 15, 2021 - 2:00pm

Judy Helgen will lead the discussion of Braiding Sweetgrass by Robin Wall Kimmerer when the UMRA Book Club I meets via Zoom at 2 p.m. on Friday, October 15. More …

Event Date:
Friday, October 22, 2021 - 2:00pm

The Fourth Friday Book Club selection for its meeting in October is A Confederacy of Dunces by John Kennedy Toole. More …

Event Date:
Friday, November 19, 2021 - 2:00pm

Mary Jane Towle will lead the discussion of Have You Seen Luis Velez? by Catherine Ryan Hyde when the UMRA Book Club I meets via Zoom at 2 p.m. on Friday, November 19. More …

Event Date:
Friday, November 26, 2021 - 2:00pm

The Fourth Friday Book Club selection for its meeting in November is Burnt Shadows by Kamila Shamsie. More …

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