Big Ten Retirees Association

Big 11 Universities Retirees Association

Minutes of Seventh Annual Meeting
August 16-18, 1998, University of Illinois, Illini Union Building, Urbana, IL


Absent: Northwestern University

Sunday, August 16, 1998

For those guests arriving early on Sunday, a tour of the Agricultural and Veterinary Medicine Facilities was planned.

In the evening, Craig & Donna Bazzani hosted the Welcome Reception at the President's House. Craig, Vice President for Financial Affairs, welcomed the guests on the South Patio and commended the group for what they do on their respective campuses, noting the contribution that the universities make to their communities and the nation--indeed the world.

Monday, August 16, 1998

Bob Bender, Session Chair, called the Seventh Annual Meeting to order at 8:30 a.m. He welcomed the group and made a few remarks pertaining to the Urbana-Champaign Campus. Bob introduced Thomas Mengler, Interim Provost and Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs.

Provost Mengler thanked the group on behalf of the faculty and staff of the University of Illinois for the work they are doing to enhance benefits for retirees. He pointed out that the universities could benefit from people such as this group because of their experience. Provost Mengler ended his remarks by pointing out that experience is empowering for those who have it and those that have little or no experience can benefit by being around those who do.

Bob Bender introduced Bill Stallman who explained the material included in the illinois orange folder. Bill introduced the schools and the retirees representing the respective schools attending the conference.

Betty Hembrough, President of the University of Illinois Chapter of the State Universities Annuitants Association (SUAA), talked about SUAA, how it is different than the State Universities Retirement System (SURS) . SUAA serves retirees, spouses, and survivors. The local chapter was formed in April, 1970. SUAA lobbies for change and is a watchdog for things that affect the benefits of retirees. The State of Illinois has not adequately funded the retirement system and the chapter has worked very hard to change that.

Bob Bender led a discussion of a report entitled "Survey of Big Eleven Retiree Association" later referred to as the Kaplan report.

James Hacking, Executive Director of the State Universities Retirement System spoke to the group and explained SURS, benefits that we have, the choices that current employees can make concerning their retirement options and the impact of the choices for the individual.

William Stallman, Annual Meeting Chair, returned to set the agenda for the annual meeting. He asked attendees to seriously consider a list of 15 items for possible discussion. Based on the response, the following items were of interest to the majority: Help for Indigent Retirees; Exchange of Retiree Organizations Publications; Survey of all Benefits for Retirees; Discussion of Wilfred Kaplan's Recent Survey; and Membership Ideas for Retiree Associations.

University of Iowa will host the 1999 Annual Meeting, August 22-24, 1999 in Iowa City, IA. Sam Becker reported on their tentative plans thus far and asked for suggestions from the group as to what they would like to see happen.

Indiana University will host the Annual Meeting in the year 2000 in Bloomington, IN.

A discussion was held concerning the feasibility of having a "Home Office" for the Big 11 Universities Retirees Association with its function to be that of record keeping and address keeping. The consensus was a definite "yes" to a central office or depository. Michigan volunteered to develop a "Central Office" or "depository" and the issue will be revisited again at the 1999 meeting.

It was indicated that several felt the organization should be renamed. After discussion the motion was made and seconded that the Big 11 Universities Retirees Association be renamed. Motion carried. Various names were suggested, the most popular name being "Big 10 Retirees Association". After considerable discussion, the motion was made, seconded and unanimously approved to postpone the vote on a new name until the following day.

The group broke for lunch at 11:45 a.m. Edwin Scharlau IT, Chairman of the Board of Busey Bank, Urbana, IL spoke on "University Communities: Strong Economics-Great Retirement Havens." Ed pointed out the many advantages for retirees of a University setting. He entertained questions after his presentation.

At 2:00 p.m. the group departed on a tour of the University of Illinois campus led by David J. Garner, Office of Facility Planning and Management.

The Annual Meeting Banquet was held in the Colonial Room of the Illini Union with John E. Cribbet, Chancellor Emeritus and former Dean of the College of Law acting as the Master of Ceremonies. Don Ward gave the invocation. Following the dinner, Kimiko Gunji described the new Japan House that recently opened on campus and the group was entertained by the "Good Time Harmony Four", a barber shop quartet that included University retirees. Jan Ward conducted the drawing for door prizes.

Tuesday, August 18, 1998

Kenneth Andersen opened the second session of the Big 11 conference at 8:15 a.m., with some brief comments. Bill Stallman commented on the activities for the day. Ken took the podium again and introduced Jeffrey W. Johnson, U. of I., Urbana Director of Alumni Affairs. Jeff presented an entertaining program on "Recognize the Ties that Bind", pointing out that more and more retirees are returning to college towns. When an individual retires it is important that they discover the treasures of their campus and community. He pointed out how important retiree volunteers are to the Alumni Association and the many ways that they can participate in meaningful activities. Several of the attendees indicated that they felt his collection of neckties were not totally adequate in their representation of their respective schools and he could expect a replacement to arrive in the mail real soon. He left the group with this thought for the day:

At 9:15 a.m. the Big 11 Retirees Association Business Meeting was opened by Ken Andersen, presiding session chair.

The postponed vote for the renaming of the organization was called. The motion that the "Big 11 Universities Retirees Association" be renamed the "Big 10 Retirees Association" was unanimously approved. Michigan will become the permanent home for archival materials of this organization.

The consensus of the group was that an exchange of publications between retiree organizations, i.e., organization newsletters or a survey that they may have conducted was highly desirable. It was moved and seconded that 2 copies of any publication be mailed to a single address for each of the Big 10 Retirees Associations. Motion carried. A list of names and addresses are included for mailing of the publications.

A group photograph was taken during the morning break.

Ken then allowed about 5 minutes for a representative from each retiree organization to elaborate on some of the activities they had undertaken and some of the problems they have encountered. One problem that all of the retiree groups face is how to reach potential retirees, the group that belong to the trades and the support staff of the universities. Another concern that all organizations seemed to have was medical benefits. Those varied greatly for the different schools. Some reported little or no coverage at all.

Indiana--Approximately 450 members. Need to strengthen their Benefits Office which is mostly informational due to the fact that their retirement system is TIAA--CREF. Have no insurance benefits. Indiana is more of a retiree club rather than an association.

Iowa--Only a few years old. Membership is climbing. University provides them with office space in a house with other organizations and provides certain other benefits.

Michigan State University--Receives some help from the University such as free office space. A professor emeritus gave $10,000 to the organization and they used some of it to buy a Gateway computer.

University of Minnesota--Retiree organization has been in existence for 22 years. University provides free office space and $5,000 a year for travel expenses and other incidentals. Retirees can buy into a condominium that is built on land owned by the University. They can sell at a later date to a University related person or pass it on to their children. The children in turn can only sell to someone 55 or older affiliated with the university.

Ohio State-- $34,000 in an endowment fund for indigent people. A Friendship Committee has been established to help with this project. Periodically they advertise the fact that this help is available because people are very hesitant to ask for help.

Penn State--Holds a monthly meeting of the board and committee chairs. They have put together an attractive booklet for the 50th Anniversary Celebration of their association. Are working on organizing an Alzheimer disease support group.

Purdue conducted three surveys: One concerning their health care insurance and Medicare--700 responses out of a possible 1200 were returned. The average age of the respondents was 73. Second was a survey on Contributions of Retirees to the University, and the third was an analysis of retirees who live in the metropolitan area of Lafayette. The objective of this survey was to learn more about the environment that retirees enter and also to learn about the transition period from work to retirement.

Wisconsin--only 2 years old. An ad hoc committee was formed to investigate benefits for retirees. Their biggest challenge is membership, but it is growing. They are also looking at providing grief counseling for their retirees. Each of the organizations represented had a number of handouts for the group which explains some of the activities they are conducting or participating in.

The group broke for lunch in the Colonial Room of the Illini Union Building. After lunch Bill Stallman made some closing remarks. The official conference adjourned at 1:30 p.m. Those participants that were leaving later enjoyed a tour of Japan House and the Arboretum.

Respectfully Submitted,

Marjorie Tingley
Conference Secretary

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