The UNL Emeriti and Retirees Association (ERA) is a vibrant organization offering a variety of attractive activities and events that allow individuals to remain closely connected to their former workplace friends and to the University that they faithfully served – often over many years. It is my honor and pleasure to step into a leadership role for this group and to help foster its continued growth and contributions to our community. The Board of Directors of ERA is constantly in search for better ways to serve UNL retirees and we welcome your ideas and suggestions for new activities, programs and events.
My transition into the role as President of ERA for the current year was prompted by the unexpected and untimely passing in July, 2018, of our President-elect, Jack Shinstock. Jack had served as a faculty member in the Department of Biological Systems Engineering for 37 years and as Associate Dean of CASNR for 22 of those years. The ERA owes much to Jack for his long and dedicated service to the organization. His strong positive attitude and friendship are greatly missed.
The year 2020 promises to be a great year for the Emeriti and Retirees Association. We already have an outstanding lineup of speakers for our monthly luncheon meetings this spring. These include Interim University of Nebraska President Susan Fritz talking about her plans and visions for the University – with special emphasis on workforce development for Nebraska. Next will be Connie Boehm, Director of Student Resilience in the Big Red Resilience and Well Being Program, talking about her several new initiatives to better serve the student population in weathering the various storms of life that can befall college students. Next on our list of speakers will be Chuck Hibberd, Dean and Director of the Nebraska Extension Service, who will provide an overview of the monumental scope of the floods and other water problems that plagued Nebraska in the past year – and how the University and its partners put forth great effort to help farmers, businesses and citizens cope with the devastation and rebuild their lives. The final luncheon speaker for the Spring will be Megan Elliott, Director of the Johnny Carson School for Emerging Media Arts.
Our highly popular monthly Coffee Chats explore a variety of spots for morning coffee in Lincoln and also introduce members to opportunities in a number of retirement communities in the area. Twice a year we organize tours of new or unusual facilities or attractions of interest to University retirees (most recently, the new Student Health Center/School of Nursing and the newly renovated and spectacular fourth floor of Morrill Hall). Membership in ERA also affords individuals the opportunity to sign up for selected courses in the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute (OLLI) at very favorable rates.
There is a long list of additional benefits for emeriti and retirees that is provided on our web site (emeriti.unl.edu) under Programs/Activities. Please take a look.
The ERA has an outstanding Board of Directors, who last year under the leadership of our Past President, Jeff Keown, instigated several improvements to our organization and activities. I am sure this momentum will continue, and even increase, in 2020 as we welcome new members and endeavor to make our organization more effective in serving the wants and needs of our members. Your membership and strong input of ideas and suggestions will be a large part of making that goal a reality.
Don Weeks, President