Meet PDGR grant recipient Wayne Potratz
Since my retirement in 2014 from teaching sculpture, membership in the University of Minnesota Retirees Association and participation in its Professional Development Grants for Retirees Program have helped me to maintain my studio, exhibit my work, and provide opportunities for undergraduate interns to work with me.
I was awarded a grant to attend a national and a regional conference in 2019. After the pandemic interrupted these conferences, I received permission to apply the funding—and was awarded some additional funds—to attend the 9th International Conference on Contemporary Cast Iron Art in Berlin in September. I will also be attending the 7th Biennial Western Iron Art Conference at South Dakota State University in October.
The grants from UMRA have enabled me to remain active in my studio, resulting in work being placed at the Stevens Point Sculpture Park in Wisconsin and at Caponi Art Park in Eagan, Minnesota. Additionally, the grant program has provided opportunities for undergraduate interns from the Department of Art to work with me. I value this contact and dialogue with younger artists; it helps connect me to the department and current university culture.
The UMRA program has also provided me with time to write and reflect upon the work as I enter my 80th year.
—Professor Emeritus Wayne Potratz (aka IronWain)
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.
In mid-July, a hacker on the “dark web” claimed they had gained access to University records with more than seven million Social Security numbers. Here’s what you can do if you are concerned about the security of your records and online identity.
Meet UMRA member Paul Ranelli, a man of many talents. His LinkedIn profile identifies him as professor emeritus, Santa Claus, photographer, voice talent, and public address announcer. Funny AND educated!
With this year’s World Series coming up soon, UMRA member Ron Matross is savoring memories of sharing America’s pastime with his son at the old Metrodome in downtown Minneapolis in the 1980s. Those were glory days for the Minnesota Twins.
UMRA members have logged nearly 200 hours of volunteer service to the University and broader community through the Silver Gopher Service Corps since its launch six months ago.
How I learned, this summer, that my great aunt, one of my paternal grandfather’s sister, was included in a fresco at the University of Missouri-Kansas City. As far as I know she is the only relative of mine who is part of a fresco anywhere in the world.
Meet UMRA member Joni Mitchell, no relation to the “other” Joni Mitchell but there is an interesting connection.
Applications for UMRA’s 2024 Professional Development Grants for Retirees competition will be accepted beginning October 1. Funding of up to $5,000 per grant is available.
Sneak Preview Days have been happening at the University for many years. This year, adding 18 UMRA Silver Gopher Service Corps volunteers put a new twist on the welcome. Who better to provide a friendly greeting and lend a helping hand than those of us who have spent our careers at the University?
One of the great benefits that come with UMRA membership is the discounted rate for parking in University parking facilities. Forgotten whether you’ve already renewed your UMRA membership for 2023–24? It’s easy to check online.
Eric Hockert and Ron Matross represented UMRA at the 2023 Big Ten Retirees Association Conference held at UW–Madison in late July. They enjoyed sharing ideas and practices with the other conference attendees, and came away with several ideas worth pursuing.
The UMRA Board has selected Midland Hills Country Club in Roseville as the location for five of our in-person luncheon forums in the coming year, in part because of the high marks those who attended last year’s forums gave the location for its food, service, and easy and free parking.
As retirees, we are all learning to adapt to a world that seems to change on a daily basis. So, the editorial committee of the Journal of Opinions, Ideas & Essays (JOIE) is inviting UMRA members to share their thoughts on resilience via a short essay.