From the President
At UMRA’s annual meeting on May 22 the membership elected the slate of candidates presented by the Nominating Committee for UMRA’s 2018–19 Board, including Bill Donohue as our new president-elect and Lynn Anderson our new secretary. In keeping with UMRA tradition, Jerry Rinehart, who served as president-elect for the past year, will lead the Board as president. Frank Cerra and Kaimay Yuen Terry will join the board, and Claudia Parliament and Gloria Williams will continue with new terms.
Dues and fees
Earlier in the afternoon, during its last regular meeting of the 2017–18 year, the Board approved the following changes, effective next year:
• A five-dollar increase in dues: individual memberships from $25 to $30, couples from $35 to $40. (This catches us up with inflation, which has been a cumulative 17 percent since our last dues increase in 2008.)
• A four-dollar increase in luncheon/buffet fees (from $16 to $20). Although this is partly because of higher rental rates for the West Wing than for ABC, it mostly reflects increases in Campus Club service and meal charges.
The following will likely be among the plethora of issues drawing the Board’s attention next year:
• Membership trends. We will monitor carefully the impact of UMRA’s restored email access to new U of M retirees and our institution of free first-year memberships.
• Luncheon venue. Next year’s experiments with some West Wing luncheons and afternoon buffets will require evaluation by UMRA and Campus Club alike, after which the Board will have to focus much of its energy on seeking a permanent solution to the capacity issue.
• Website. The Board and its Communications and Outreach Committee plan to continue working to improve the UMRA website.
• Retiree benefits. It appears that significant changes are in the works for both the Faculty Retirement Plan and the U’s retiree health insurance offerings. Our representatives on the relevant U committees will keep the Board abreast of developments. Watch for relevant workshops.
• Activities. This year the Social Activities Committee has begun arranging a wide variety of new options for members beyond the monthly meetings. Look for this trend to accelerate next year as we learn more about members’ interests and gain experience with what works and what does not.
• Capital campaign. The Board will be exploring ways for UMRA and its members to participate in the U’s ongoing $4 billion fundraising campaign.
• Serving needs of older and less mobile members. Several members recently have urged UMRA to think about how it can better support those who are moving or have moved into a less active stage of their retirement years. This likely will be a major topic of the upcoming biennial board retreat, scheduled for August 9.
• Others. Likely some of next year’s largest undertakings are not yet on our radar screens. The retreat may identify some; others will likely be responses to external events still unknown to us.
A word of thanks
It has been a privilege to serve as UMRA president this year. This is a great organization with wonderful volunteers, whether as board members, committee members, representatives, liaisons, or leaders of clubs and other special interest groups. Special thanks to those now leaving the board: Steve Benson, John Howe, Judy Garrard (secretary), and Donna Peterson (past president). All have left their mark on UMRA and on their colleagues.
I owe a particular debt of gratitude to Jerry Rinehart, who has already been serving informally as a sort of co-president this year. He has taken on a range of tasks far beyond the call of duty, has shared his wise counsel with me throughout the year, and is extraordinarily well position to hit the ground running as his title technically changes from president-elect to president on September 1.
—Chip Peterson, UMRA President, 2017–18