Election of UMRA’s 2023–24 leadership to be held online

This year’s election of UMRA officers and new board members will be conducted via an online poll from May 15 to 19, with the results to be announced at our annual meeting on May 23. The slate of candidates appears below. Online voting makes it convenient for more members to participate. Look for the ballot in your email inbox on May 15.

UMRA members may nominate individuals not put forth by the Nominating Committee, provided the nominating person has the consent of the nominee. If you have such a nomination, please submit it to Nominating Committee Chair Jan Morlock by May 12. You will also need to state which proposed officer or board member you wish to contest. If there are no additional nominations, the question on the ballot will be the approval of the entire slate of candidates. Terms of those elected will begin July 1.

Also on the ballot will be a vote to amend our organization’s bylaws (see Article IV, Officers), and a vote to approve UMRA’s 2022 annual meeting minutes. The amended bylaws specify that the chair of the University Retirees Volunteer Center (URVC) leadership council will be an officer of UMRA and, as such, a member of the UMRA executive committee and board. This change is part of the UMRA-URVC reaffiliation agreement; the bylaws change has been approved by the UMRA board, and now needs to be approved by the membership.

The Nominating Committee presents the following slate of candidates for approval:


Julie Sweitzer

Julie Sweitzer served the University of Minnesota for 32 years. Most recently, she was executive director of the College Readiness Consortium, and co-director of the Educational Equity Resource Center in the College of Education and Human Development (CEHD). The Consortium created Ramp-Up to Readiness, a school-wide postsecondary readiness curriculum for grades 6–12. Previously, Julie was director of the Office of Equal Opportunity and Affirmative Action (1998–2006) and served as its associate general counsel (1989–98.) In those positions, she worked with people from all campuses and every college and administrative unit. She holds a Master of Public Affairs degree from the Hubert H. Humphrey School of Public Affairs and a J.D. from the University Law School. Julie served three terms on the St. Louis Park School Board and currently chairs the Minnesota Council on Economic Education.


Laurie Coffin Koch

Laurie Coffin Koch joined the University faculty in 1987. She is a Distinguished University Teaching Professor of mathematics. During her tenure, she was associate vice provost and associate dean for undergraduate education, with responsibility for freshman seminars, orientation, first-year programs, the SMART Learning Commons, the Center for Academic Planning & Exploration, the President’s Emerging Scholars Program, and campus-wide student services initiatives. On two occasions, she served as interim director of Academic Counseling and Student Services for Intercollegiate Athletics. She was the director of international initiatives for CEHD, and one of her many joys was leading study abroad students to Italy. She served as chair of the Senate Committee on Educational Policy, chair of the Faculty Academic Oversight Committee on Intercollegiate Athletics, and numerous other committees. Laurie joined UMRA in 2020, and participates in various activities including the Photo Club and the Fourth Friday Book Club.  She was elected to the UMRA Board in 2021.


Kristy Frost-Griep

Kristy Frost-Griep began her career as a certified public accountant at Deloitte & Touche. Then she spent six years as accounting manager at Bloomington Schools and five years at the Wilder Foundation. Kristy made her move to the University as finance manager in the Office of the Vice President for Health Sciences, eventually transitioning to finance director for the Office of Academic Clinical Affairs (OACA). She retired in 2021, but still works 25 percent time assisting that office. Her duties at the University have included managing a finance team and hands-on support to OACA units, as well as liaison to finance staff employed by other OACA units. Responsibilities were in the areas of non-sponsored and sponsored budgeting, reporting, analysis, pre- and post-award grant support, as well as financial policy interpretation at the project, department, collegiate, and executive levels.

Continuing board members  

John Bantle

John Bantle (nominated for a three-year term, retroactive to July 1, 2022) is an Emeritus Professor of Medicine and former director of the Division of Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism at the University. He practiced clinical endocrinology with a focus on diabetes mellitus throughout his career. His research also focused on diabetes. He was a principal investigator in the Diabetes Control and Complications Trial and was also principal investigator on a number of other National Institutes of Health-sponsored clinical trials. In 2002 and 2006, he co-chaired the American Diabetes Association panel that developed nutrition recommendations for people with diabetes. John retired in 2022, although he continues to assist his physician daughter in diabetes research. Other post-retirement activities include Rotary Club, mentoring immigrant families, tennis, travel, and hanging out with his grandchildren. He currently chairs the UMRA Professional Development Grants for Retirees Committee.

B. Jan McCulloch

B. Jan McCulloch (nominated for a second, three-year term) joined the faculty in 2003 as head of the Family Social Science Department, a role she held until 2013. She taught courses on families and aging, family theory, and a graduate orientation seminar, and conducted research focused on rural aging, depression among older adults, and older womens health decision-making. Her University service included the Faculty Consultative Committee, Womens Faculty Cabinet, University Sesquicentennial Committee, and the Children, Youth and Family Consortium Advisory Council. For 10 years, she served on the Metropolitan Area Agency on Aging board, including as president, and since retiring in 2014 has served on the Agency’s Advisory Committee. Jan is active in the UMRA Photo Club and as a member of the UMRA Host Team.

Barbara Shiels

Barbara Shiels (nominated for a second, three-year term) retired in 2019 after serving as an attorney in the Office of the General Counsel (OGC) since 1983. Some highlights included a stint as associate general counsel for the former University Hospital from 1994 to 1997, advising the human research protection and conflict of interest programs on complex regulatory matters, and serving as the OGC contact for immigration matters throughout her tenure. She was active in the National Association of College and University Attorneys, as a member of its board and various committees, and as a speaker at multiple conferences. Barb views her involvement in UMRA as an important way to maintain a strong connection with the University. One of her favorite volunteer activities, through URVC, is teaching English as second language to adult learners.

New Board members

Bradley G. Clary

Bradley G. Clary retired from the University in 2020 as Emeritus Clinical Professor of Law.  Before joining the faculty full time in 1999, he practiced law in Minnesota for 24 years. The University has honored Brad as a Distinguished University Teacher. He is also an elected member of the American Law Institute, a former member of the Law School Accreditation Committee of the American Bar Association Council on Legal Education, for which he still chairs inspection teams, and a former president of the Association of Legal Writing Directors. He is a recipient of the Thomas F. Blackwell Memorial Award for Outstanding Achievement in the Field of Legal Writing, and he has served on the Minnesota Supreme Court Civil Justice Reform Task Force. Brad currently serves on the UMRA Program Committee. As a member of the Board, he would be happy to promote connections among UMRA members and between UMRA and the University, and to build upon and expand UMRA’s positive role in the community.

Diane Gihl

Diane Gihl retired in 2018, after 31 years at the University, as executive assistant to the vice president for public engagement. Prior to that, she served as executive assistant to various administrators, including the executive vice provost, the vice president for student development and athletics, and the vice president for student affairs. She assisted in the planning for the University’s sesquicentennial celebration and coordinated the 35th reunion of the 1962 Rose Bowl Championship players and numerous other University special events. She served for four years on the board of the University’s Recreation and Wellness Center and is a season-ticket holder for Gophers men’s basketball. Go Gophers! Diane is a current member of the UMRA Host Committee. She hopes to bring a civil service employee/retiree perspective to the UMRA Board, and to assist in finding ways to provide opportunities for UMRA members to be involved and connected.

Michael Hancher

Michael Hancher joined UMRA in 2023, having retired as a professor of English in May after a half century at the University. Counting five years in a previous appointment (at Johns Hopkins University), four years in college, and another four in graduate school, he counts himself lucky to have benefitted from access to an academic library at a research university for almost 64 years. While at the U of M, he chaired the Senate Library Committee and was a member of the Friends of the Library board of directors. He also served as associate dean for faculty and research in the College of Liberal Arts, vice chair of the Faculty Consultative Committee, chair of the Department of English, and president of the Dictionary Society of North America. Much of his research focused on aspects of book history, Victorian studies, and book illustration.

Wendy Pratt Lougee

Wendy Pradt Lougee (nominated to serve the remaining year in Laurie Koch’s 2021–24 term) served as University Librarian, Dean of Libraries, and McKnight Presidential Professor, retiring in 2020. Under Wendy’s tutelage, the University Libraries was awarded the National Medal for Museums and Libraries in 2017. Prior to joining the University in 2002, she held positions at the University of Michigan over a 20-year period. Her work in developing a digital library program at Michigan was recognized with the American Library Association’s Hugh C. Atkinson Memorial Award for innovation. Wendy has served on numerous professional boards, and currently serves on the Finance and the Justice Grants Committees at St. Joan of Arc Catholic Community in Minneapolis. A member of the UMRA Program Committee, her primary interests in UMRA involve programs to continue engagement in University scholarship and research.

Continuing Board members

Eric Hockert

Eric Hockert automatically moves to president from president-elect. He retired in 2016 from the Office for Technology Commercialization after eight years helping faculty and companies transfer patented technologies from the University to industry for product development. His 40-year career included work at 3M, Imation, Boston Scientific, Vision-Ease, and a few years as a liaison between faculty and industry at IPRIME, a University-industry partnership in the College of Science and Engineering. He is past chair and a current board member of URVC, a member of the UMRA-URVC reaffiliation group, chair of the UMRA Program Committee, and past chair of the UMRA Communication & Outreach Committee. During his term as president, he will work to build on the solid foundation created by his predecessors and expand UMRA’s efforts to engage a broader range of our membership.

Ron Matross automatically continues as immediate past president. He joined UMRA in 2013 after retiring as a senior analyst in the Office of Undergraduate Education. Jerry Rinehart automatically continues as URVC Council chair. He joined UMRA in 2013 after retiring as vice provost and dean of students, U of M Twin Cities campus.

Other continuing members include Frank Cerra, Will Craig, Russell Luepker, Kate Maple, Jan Morlock, KaiMay Terry, and Diane Young.

UMRA thanks outgoing board members Bill Donohue, Cathy Lee Gierke, Cherie Hamilton, and Cathrine Wambach for their years of leadership and service to UMRA. Each will remain a valued colleague in multiple ways.

And a special UMRA thanks to Ron Matross for leading our retirees association this year with wisdom, foresight, and a sense of humor. We’re fortunate he will continue to bring his talents to enrich the mission of this organization. Come to UMRA’s 2023 annual meeting and luncheon forum on May 23 to thank Ron in person and meet the members of the incoming board.

—Jan Morlock, [email protected], past president and Nominating Committee chair



For 2023 grant year, the UMRA PDGR Committee reviewed 10 applications for Professional Development Grants for Retirees. The applications covered a diverse set of topics and goals. The PDGR Committee recommended that nine be funded in April 2023. The recipients represented the Morris and Twin Cities Campus. The awardees and grant abstracts are listed on the 2023 PDGR Abstracts page.


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