The Association of the University of Akron Retirees (AUAR) was founded 15 years ago by a group of retirees of various ranks from many parts of the university who had little in common except that they all were proud that they had contributed to making the institution great. Some founders wanted to maintain contact with the institution and other people faculty, staff and administrators. Others wanted to meet new people and to keep up with new things happening on campus. Still others wanted to create an organization whose purpose was to “watchdog” the pension systems on which their financial futures depended, whether STRS, PERS, or SERS. All of these goals were incorporated by the AUAR, and a hard-working Board of Directors continues to follow this mandate.
The AUAR belongs to the Ohio Council of Higher Education Retirees (OCHER) and the Ohio Retired Teachers Association (ORTA). AUAR Board members attend all four quarterly meetings of OCHER and some have even been elected as officers. Through these organizations we monitor the services of the Ohio pension systems and our health benefits. Furthermore, we lobby the State Legislature and the US Congress whenever the specter of mandatory Social Security reappears.
On the social side, AUAR has developed a solid program of activities. We have monthly luncheons with distinguished guest speakers on the second Wednesday from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. at Quaker Station. We bring in dynamic speakers from Northeast Ohio and hear authors of new books just published by the UA Press. Sometimes we are treated to travelogues about fascinating overseas junkets taken by our members.
We also have charter bus excursions that take us on one-day adventures to unlikely destinations in neighboring communities where we go on guided tours of factories, historic homes, museums, wineries, etc. We hold other special events off campus too, like our Chile/Soup Supper in Autumn and the Lobster & Suds in May. In fact, eating well seems to be a focal point of much of our time together!
By sustaining AUAR membership at 300+, we have the critical mass needed to sustain all these programs. But we must always be on the look-out for new members to replenish our ranks. We encourage new members to volunteer to serve on the Executive Board of AUAR. AUAR dues are minimal with your first year of retirement free. Members can receive The AUAR Newsletter and all of our mailings either via e-mail or “snail” mail.
Finally, on our tenth anniversary, AUAR began endowing undergraduate-student scholarships. Our goal is $100,000. Donations large or small are always welcome; and, to date, we have received more than $57,000 from active members and bequests. A committee selects both the recipients.
Joining AUAR can ease the transition to a rewarding and fulfilling retirement. Welcome to the club!
Dr. June K. Burton, President 2013-2015