Big Ten conference was collegial, productive

Both the weather and the collegial discussions were warm at the 2023 Big Ten Retirees Association conference held at the University of Wisconsin–Madison in late July. Current and past UMRA presidents Eric Hockert and Ron Matross represented UMRA and enjoyed exchanging ideas and practices with representatives from the other Big Ten associations.

The conference attendees discussed a number of issues. One that was of interest to all was the issue of how to help current members become more deeply involved in their associations so that leadership revolves. 

We also spent time sharing information about our programs. Of particular interest to our sister schools were UMRA’s Cabinet of Curiosities series and the Silver Gophers Service Corps. Both discussions gave us several ideas worth pursuing. 

The conference was also a chance for the UW–Madison Retirement Association to showcase its campus and faculty. We heard excellent presentations about land-grant universities, sustainability at UW–Madison, and how higher education can serve the underserved. These were a fine complement to our roundtable discussions. 

Next year’s conference will be at Ohio State University in Columbus. Minnesota will host the 2026 conference, and we need to assemble a planning group right away.  Please email Eric Hockert at if you’re interested in being the leader of this group or if you’re interested in being a member.

—Eric Hockert, UMRA president, and Ron Matross, UMRA past president (2022–23)