The following article summarizes the original event which is listed below the summary.

UMRA returns to campus for May 2022 Annual Meeting and Forum

Tue, May 24 2022, 11am

UMRA held a celebratory annual meeting on May 24, 2022, with an in-person luncheon at the Campus Club on the Twin Cities campus. Around 80 members attended the event, and nearly 20 participated online. Outgoing President Jan Morlock welcomed many U of M special guests including Provost Rachel Croson, vice presidents Matt Kramer and Bernard (Bernie) Gulachek, and John Coleman, dean of the College of Liberal Arts (CLA). 

One reason for celebration was UMRA’s new memorandum of understanding with the University, signed by President Morlock and Provost Croson on March 1. Another was UMRA’s successful reunification with the University Retirees Volunteer Center. 

Provost Croson spoke in appreciation of UMRA’s work, as individuals and as an organization, in service to the University and our communities. She committed to maintaining a close, cooperative relationship in furtherance of our missions. 

President Morlock also recognized the work of the UMRA Zoom Team, consisting of Virgil Larson, John Anderson, Kris Mortensen, and Mary Koppel, who kept UMRA forums and workshops going during COVID when many retiree associations shut down. UMRA’s monthly programs were at least as well attended via Zoom as they had been previously. 

The election of officers and board members occurred virtually during the previous week. Morlock announced the results were unanimous and welcomed new board members Russell Luepker and Kate Maple and returning board member Will Craig. New officers include Eric Hockert as president-elect, Kristy Frost Griep as treasurer, and Julie Sweitzer returning as secretary. Morlock thanked departing board members/officers, Frank Cerra, Gary Engstrand and Greg Hestness.

Incoming President Ron Matross then briefly took the podium to thank Morlock for being “a delight to work with and for deftly bringing us through the challenges that the past year presented to us.” As an expression of appreciation from the Retirees Association, he also presented her with a gift certificate for tickets to the Guthrie Theater and a word cloud describing her leadership of UMRA. 

Jan Morlock
Jan Morlock

Morlock returned to the podium to conclude the formal annual meeting and introduce CLA Dean Coleman as the keynote speaker for the forum. Dean Coleman described how CLA has defined the skills students acquire as liberal arts majors. The student body has become more racially and ethnically diverse, but COVID created challenges in maintaining international students. The college’s Public Life Project is changing how CLA prepares students for public life and addressing the conflicts of our time. 

The new Liberal Arts Engagement Hub in the recently renovated Pillsbury Hall has hosted many community partners who define their projects and bring new perspectives to collegiate life. 

Ron Matross ended the meeting by encouraging all to join UMRA’s summer celebration at Como Lakeside Pavilion in St. Paul on August 9, and next year’s in-person luncheon forums. 

—Julie Sweitzer, UMRA secretary

As members of the University of Minnesota Retirees Association were joyfully gathering on May 24, 2022, for their first “reunion” at the U of M Campus Club in Minneapolis after 27 months of separation due to the COVID-19 pandemic, we were unaware of an unspeakably tragic event that was unfolding in the small town of Uvalde, Texas. There, a lone, 18-year-old gunman entered an elementary school armed with an assault rifle and shot to death 19 fourth-grade students and two teachers. As parents, grandparents, and educators, we grieve the loss of life and the loss of innocence inflicted on the surviving family members, Robb Elementary School children, teachers and staff, first responders, and members of the Uvalde community.

—Kristine Mortensen, news editor




CLA Dean John Coleman to keynote 2022 Annual Meeting

Tue, May 24 2022, 11am
John Coleman
College of Liberal Arts

Campus Club West Wing Dining Room and via Zoom

May 24 will mark UMRA’s return to in-person luncheon forums at the Campus Club for the first time in more than two years and a celebration of our resilient fellowship. We will also announce the new board for the coming year. See the election article on page 3 for how to cast your vote.

We hope you will attend in person on May 24; reservations open April 28 and are due May 16.

Plan to arrive at the Campus Club West Wing Dining Room by 11 a.m. for a buffet lunch starting at 11:15. When the Annual Meeting begins at noon, we’ll announce the election results and then welcome Provost Rachel Croson to celebrate the signing of a renewed Memorandum of Understanding between UMRA and the University. Next, we’ll introduce UMRA’s president for the coming year, Ron Matross, and at about 12:25 p.m. we’ll kick off the forum with speaker John Coleman, dean of the College of Liberal Arts (CLA). 

Leading the liberal arts

With 31 academic departments, 500 professors, and 14,000 students, CLA is the largest academic unit at our university. The college has always been at the center of the U’s mission and its role as a land grant university. In 2019, Dean Coleman led the college’s celebration of 150-plus years of history.  

You may recall reading last fall about the CLA Public Life Project, a new cross-disciplinary initiative. The official aim of the project is to develop “… the knowledge and skills students need to grapple with polarizing divisions and inequalities, engage empathetically with others, and prepare for active, meaningful public lives.” We look forward to hearing from Dean Coleman about how he sees the role of the college in preparing graduates for public life in this era of great stridency and divisions.

Also in 2021, the college under Dean Coleman’s leadership completed the long-planned renovation of Pillsbury Hall in the heart of the east bank of the Twin Cities campus in Minneapolis. Pillsbury Hall is now home to the Department of English and its Creative Writing Program, and the new Liberal Arts Engagement Hub. A tour of Pillsbury Hall would be a terrific idea for UMRA’s 2022–23 program year.

A nationally recognized scholar

Dean Coleman has focused his efforts in four key areas since becoming dean in 2014: ensuring that CLA alumni are the most desirable graduates available; promoting and rewarding research and creative excellence; advancing diversity, equity, and inclusion of faculty, staff, and students; and deepening a culture of engagement with alumni, the community, and the state.

A nationally recognized scholar, he is the author or editor of seven books on American politics and government and numerous articles in edited volumes and major journals. Prior to his arrival at CLA, he was chair of the Political Science Department and a Lyons Family Faculty Fellow at the University of Wisconsin–Madison, where he was on the faculty for more than 20 years. 

We hope you will attend in person on May 24; reservations open April 28 and are due May 16.

If attending remotely is better for you, we plan to offer a Zoom option for the meeting and forum. To join UMRA’s 2022 Annual Meeting and Forum via Zoom, please register at umra.umn.edu.

—Jan Morlock, UMRA president

Upcoming Events

Event Date: October 2, 2023, at 9:30am

We will meet at the Mel-O-Glaze bakery on 28th and Minnehaha Parkway and walk to Minnehaha Falls and then back again.

Event Date: October 3, 2023, at 1pm

Some of the most valuable and rare maps in the world are held in UMN's own James Ford Bell Library, housed in Andersen Library  See https://www.lib.umn.edu/collections/special/bell .

Event Date: October 4, 2023, at 10am

The first meeting of UMRA’s Family History Interest Group for 2023–24 will feature a presentation by Marilyn DeLong about sharing family stories and learning surprising family connections. 

Event Date: October 4, 2023, at 10am

UMRA has a special opportunity to engage with the four newest members of the U of M Board of Regents on Wednesday, October 4, via Zoom. The purpose of the event is to share our perspectives as former University employees. 

Event Date: October 10, 2023, at 12:30pm

All UMRA members with an interest in photography are welcome to attend the meeting of the UMRA Photo Club on Tuesday, October 10. We welcome photographers of all abilities. Most of us are struggling amateurs. We laugh a lot and learn from sharing and talking about our pictures.

Event Date: October 16, 2023, at 9:30am

The walk along the Mississippi River in Minneapolis is always changing, with many attractions being added along both sides of the river and, now, the beautiful fall colors.

Event Date: October 19, 2023, at 11am

UMRA’s workshop on Open Enrollment for U of M retiree health plans for 2024 will include a briefing on the choice between Medicare Advantage plans and Medicare Supplement Insurance (Medigap) plans, by Jeff Snegosky of BCBS of Minnesota, followed by an overview of the U of M’s retiree health insurance plans, by Katie Kolodge from the Office of Human Resources.

Event Date: October 20, 2023, at 2pm

Mary Jane Towle will lead the discussion of The Dictionary of Lost Words by Pip Williams.

Event Date: October 24, 2023, at 11am

To help us understand the growing movement in the U.S. to ban books, especially children’s literature, and the critical role of libraries to protect intellectual freedom, UMRA will welcome U of M Librarian Lisa Von Drasek (pictured) and Rochester Public Librarian Kimberly Edson as the guest speakers for our October luncheon forum at Midland Hills. 

Event Date: October 27, 2023, at 2pm

The Fourth Friday Book Club will meet from 2 to 3:30 p.m. CDT on October 27 to discuss the life and narrative of Frederick Douglass.

Event Date: November 6, 2023, at 9:30am

Join us for a 5 mile moderately paced hike around Pleasant Lake located in the heart of North Oaks.  It takes us past some of James J. Hill’s original farm buildings as well as beautiful homes built along the lakeshore. The trail is wide, generally flat and consists of packed dirt and crushed rock. 

Event Date: November 6, 2023, at 9:40am

The documents noted for this event specify your managers and can minimize income taxes now, and estate taxes. 

Event Date: November 7, 2023, at 1pm

The material world we live in is shaped by design. While popular discussions of design typically focus on fashion and furniture, design is fundamental in art, architecture, and indeed nearly all aspects of the everyday world around us.  Goldstein Museum of Design curator Jean McElvain will demonstrate and discuss some of the fascinating and often unexpected holdings before we walk through the current gallery exhibit.

Event Date: November 27, 2023, at 9am - December 3, 2023, at 5pm

Get an insider's perspective on Santa Fe and Taos alongside local artists, exploring the Georgia O'Keeffe museum, enjoying traditional music and learning about native cultures. The deadline for reserving a space is June 2, 2023.

Event Date: December 4, 2023, at 9:30am

Please join us for an invigorating hike from The Monument located at the intersection of Mississippi RIver Blvd and Summit Avenue in St. Paul to Minnehaha Falls in Minneapolis and back.  This hike is on paved trails, approximately 5.5 miles in length, and will be at a pace suitable to the weather.

Event Date: December 13, 2023, at 11:30am

Topics include tax changes; tax reducing moves required now and tax management in 2024 & 2025.