2021–22 PDGR awards

UMRA’s Professional Development Grants for Retirees (PDGR) program received only two applications for support over the past two years. It is not clear why, but the pandemic was almost certainly a major factor. 

Wayne Potratz, professor emeritus, College of Liberal Arts (CLA) Department of Art, applied for a 2022 grant to support materials, supplies, and assistance to make a series of cast iron tiles, and to support travel to a national conference in South Dakota and an international conference in Germany to present his work. His project was approved in January.

Joanne Eicher, CLA Regents Professor Emerita, received a grant in 2021 to help support publication of her book Global Trade and Cultural Authentication: The Kalabari of the Niger Delta.

Both Potratz and Eicher have received multiple PDGR awards.

Applications for PDGR funding in 2023 may be submitted starting October 1. All fully retired employees of the University are eligible to apply for grants for professional development or research. To encourage more applications, potential awards will be increased from $3,000 to $5,000.

There were two retirements from the PDGR Committee in 2021, so new members are needed. Anyone interested should contact John Bantle at [email protected]

All UMRA members are encouraged to support the grant program by making financial contributions to the PDGR fund at the University of Minnesota Foundation.

—John Bantle, MD, PDGR Committee chair



The election of UMRA officers and new board members for 2024–25 will be conducted via an online poll from May 13 to 19, with the results to be announced at our annual meeting on May 21. Look for the ballot in your email inbox on May 13. Diane Young has been nominated to be president-elect.