2023-05 From the President: UMRA in full

From the President


2023-05: UMRA in full

As spring looks to be finally here, the blossoms remind me that this year, UMRA has once again fully blossomed. After the COVID lockdown, we were finally able to offer a full slate of in-person luncheons and social gatherings, while continuing the virtual programming that we began during the pandemic. We have more special interest groups than ever, and they meet regularly to learn, socialize, and have fun together. I hope you’ve been able to take advantage of some of our offerings!

Gratitude is one of the nicest emotions, and as I write this, my last column as UMRA president, I’m feeling a wave of it. Many volunteers are needed to keep UMRA growing, and I am grateful to them all, especially:

  • Past presidents Frank Cerra, Bill Donohue, and Jan Morlock, who saw us through the pandemic and kept us strong going into this year
  • The UMRA Board, whose collective wisdom and good counsel kept us on track
  • Eric Hockert and the members of the Program Committee, who gave us a rich and diverse set of programs
  • Treasurer Kristy Frost-Griep, who made our finances clear; and Secretary Julie Sweitzer, who carefully recorded our history
  • Jerry Rinehart and Deanne Magnuson, who worked tirelessly to integrate the University Retirees Volunteer Center into UMRA and launch the Silver Gopher Service Corps
  • John Bantle, chair of UMRA’s Professional Development Grants for Retirees Committee, which awarded nine grants totaling more than $41,000
  • Kris Mortensen, who worked to produce our wonderful newsletter, produce our Zoom webinars, and edit my writing (no easy task!)
  • Virgil Larson, who maintained our database and who, along with John Anderson, made our Zoom webinars work
  • Diane Young and the Hosting Committee, who made us all feel welcome at our luncheon forums and other in-person, all-member events
  • Cathy Lee Gierke and Kathy Jensen, for the redesign and migration of the UMRA website

UMRA began this programing year with a new mission statement: “To support the interests of U of M retirees and provide opportunities to learn, serve, and connect.” I’m proud of the many UMRA members who worked hard to help carry out this mission. It’s been an honor, privilege, and pleasure to serve as UMRA president. In July, Eric Hockert will take over as president, and I guarantee that next year will be better than ever!

—Ron Matross, UMRA president, [email protected]