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Campus News
     
Your faculty and staff news since 1965
Current Issue: March 17, 2003
Volume 38, Number 16

UNM Retirees Association founded
First annual meeting set for April 29

By Laurie Mellas-Ramirez

Enriching the lives of retired faculty and staff and finding avenues for the group to stay active with the university is the aim of the UNM Retirees Association approved by the Board of Regents last week.

The association will provide a formal communication channel to assess and respond to retiree interests and concerns.

Most UNM employees remain in New Mexico after retirement poising the university as a unique touchstone both to serve and utilize these knowledgeable, concerned citizens, said former Vice President for Business and Finance David McKinney, member of the Staff Council ad hoc committee that worked to formalize the group. “Active associations provide a spectrum of programs and services for retirees such as arranging speakers and cultural events and providing mentoring and volunteer opportunities,” he said.

The first annual meeting of the association will be held Tuesday, April 29, from 11:30 to 1:30 p.m. at the Research Park Rotunda, 801 University Blvd. SE. The proposed bylaws of the association will be acted upon and a board of directors will be elected.

McKinney said many universities throughout the U.S. have associations. UNM’s will be modeled on the University of Wisconsin’s. Associations publish newsletters and annual reports, schedule meetings to keep retirees informed and may negotiate special member discounts to university events and services.

For two years, McKinney and fellow retirees Scott Alley, Anne Brown and Lee Zink, along with former Staff Council President L.J. Lovell and other staff and faculty, and with assistance from Staff Council’s Mimi Swanson and Karin Retskin, championed the effort.

Under Lovell’s leadership in 2000, Staff Council created an ad hoc committee to explore retiree needs. The committee conducted a survey of 2,041 retirees last summer.

“We had a 35 percent return, which is outstanding,” Lovell said. “Nearly 90 percent said that they would be interested in joining an association.”

Among the supporters are President F. Chris Garcia, former President William C. Gordon and Human Resources Director Susan Carkeek.

The ad hoc committee also worked with the Human Resources Department and Continuing Education on benefits issues. Health Sciences Center Associate Professor Emerita Beulah Woodfin will serve as the UNM Retirees Association representative on the UNM Faculty/Staff Benefits Committee.

Another task has been to develop and maintain an accurate and current retiree database, Alley said. Other information gained from the survey will also be acted upon.

“We wanted a stronger connection to the university. We want our experience to be of benefit,” Alley said.

Membership is maintained by a nominal annual membership fee. The fee has not been set, but will be under $20, McKinney said. All retired faculty or staff, their spouses, and widows or widowers, are eligible for membership.

The university will offer some in-kind support, such as part-time administrative support, accounting services, etc.

For information, contact Karin Retskin, 277-1532.