As president of the UNL Emeriti Association for 2016, I am pleased to welcome you to an exciting year of programming and activities. Vice President Julie Johnson has developed an outstanding schedule of presentations for our monthly luncheon meetings; our joint discussion groups with OLLI will continue to provide for stimulating discussions; and our coffee house chats, campus tours, and holiday celebrations promise to be informative and enjoyable.
A highlight of 2016 will be our hosting of the Big Ten Retirees Associations Annual Conference. Scheduled for August 5 – 7, this event will bring 1 – 3 representatives from each of the Big 10 universities to our campus. With a number of spouses/partners also attending we expect to have about 50 individuals participating in this year’s conference. John Bernthal is chairing the program committee that is lining up an outstanding schedule of speakers, campus tours and social events. We want to showcase the excellence and beauty of UNL as we meet to discuss how our associations can become more effective and efficient in serving our retirees and our universities.
At the December Board of Directors retreat several new initiatives for 2016 were discussed. A committee has been appointed to explore ways in which we might reach out to a greater number of retired UNL employees who wish to remain involved in their university and continue to meet with their academic colleagues. A number of the Big 10 universities have “retirees associations” that encompass academic, managerial, and support personnel. Of these, some maintain associations for emeriti faculty that hold a few separate meetings each year in addition to actively participating in their broader retirees association. Other universities simply provide for key academic support personnel to be invited to membership in their association for retired faculty.
The Board members also discussed some new ways in which Association members might become involved in supporting University programs and activities. One idea that drew considerable interest was to help new international students feel at home in our community. Several members of the Board noted that in past years they had befriended and supported new international students through the former “Lincoln Friends of Foreign Students” organization. Past President John Comer will be meeting with appropriate University administrators early in the semester to discuss needs and possibilities in this area.
The Association officers and board members are very dedicated to providing programs and activities that will sustain University relationships and build community among retired faculty members and administrators. Toward that end, we encourage you to communicate any ideas you might have that will help us achieve this objective.
James Griesen, President