A s surely as The University of Texas at Arlington’s more than 180,000 alumni have a bond with the university, so do the thousands of faculty and staff who have taught and served them – some more than a half-century.
Once they retire, the ties and friendships they’ve also made with each other continue, so in 1985 the University saw the need to strengthen those bonds by providing social, recreational, and informational activities for retirees.
UTA president Wendell Nedderman got the ball rolling.
Elwood Preiss, Nedderman’s longtime executive assistant, says, “Dr. Nedderman sensed that there was an interest in retirees maintaining a relationship with the University, and asked me to gather a group of retirees from various facets of the institution to discuss the creation of a continuing organization. This led to the development of the Retirees’ Club.”
Its purpose was simple, Preiss says: “It was to provide retirees with the means to sustain their relationship with the University, renew old friendships and make new ones.”
Programs range from talks by University administrators about new developments at UTA to musical performances. Some of the more popular programs address financial fraud against elders, travel opportunities and health issues.
The club also includes several special interest groups for members. Current ones are gardening, genealogy, healthy lifestyle, Tai Chi, travel, walking fitness and a knitting club.
The club also recognizes retirees who have made significant and valuable contributions to the university and the Arlington community with the “Elwood Preiss Distinguished Retiree Service Award.” A “Retiree Roll of Honor” recognizes members who have excelled in club leadership positions.
Current officers are president Dr. Shirley Theriot, vice presidents for membership Susan Sterling and Sarah Stephens, vice president for programs Sonja Godeken treasurer Cindy Allen, secretary Dr. Josie O’Quinn and photographer Beth McHenry.
“Under the current leadership of Dr. Theriot the club is undergoing an expansion of activities and membership,” Preiss says.
The UTA Human Resources Dept. supports the club in many ways, including booking meeting rooms, providing a page on its website and offering speakers with information and updates about retiree benefits.
The UTA president’s office provides a continental brunch at regular meetings, which are held the second Tuesday of each month from 10 a.m. to noon, usually at Maverick Stadium in a first floor meeting room.
Membership is open to anyone who retired from UTA and their spouses.
More information is on the club’s page at uta.edu/hr/retireesclub within the UTA Human Resources website or from Theriot at firstname.lastname@example.org. Prospective members may also write to the Office of Human Resources, Box 19176, Arlington, Tx., 76019 or call 817 272-5554. The club will soon have a private Facebook page for members only.
Meetings have been suspended during the current pandemic.