Penn State hosted this year’s Big 10 Retirees Association meeting, August 3–5.  Twenty-three delegates from 12 of the 14 institutions in the Big 10 were represented (missing only Rutgers and Maryland).  Sue Otto (UIRA president) and Diana Harris (UIRA Gray Hawk newsletter editor) represented the UI Retirees Association.  The primary purpose of these annual meetings is to compare our organizations’ governance, finances, member benefits, and engagement strategies and get ideas on ways to expand or improve what we offer our members.

Not surprisingly, our retirees associations are very different from institution to institution.  Founded in 1995, UIRA is one of the newer organizations, in contrast to the oldest ones that began in the 40’s and 50’s.  (Only the University of Wisconsin, Northwestern, and Rutgers started up after us.)  At $10 per year or $25 for three years, our dues are the lowest of any organization that charges dues.  Michigan State, Northwestern (which is a faculty-only group), and Purdue do not charge dues and all retirees automatically belong; otherwise dues range from $15 per year to $41 per year.  In contrast to UIRA and a number of others, a few groups are affiliated with HR or the Alumni Association and have on-campus, dedicated space with part-time staff.

Social highlights of the 2018 meeting featured a campus tour that included viewing Penn State’s Land Grant Frescoes and a guided walk through their lovely arboretum, a dinner and wine-tasting at a local winery, and a talk by Barry Lee Myers, co-founder and CEO of AccuWeather, a global company that is headquartered in State College and provides live weather reports and daily forecasts to individuals and business.  (submitted by Sue Otto)