Retirees Day 2008

Jane Conrow

Mary Stevens, Dennis Burke, Doug Johnson

Mary Stevens, Dennis Burke, and Doug Johnson

Attendees

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Despite the fire at our regular meeting site (Memorial Union) and the retirement of long time Chair Joe Wilkinson, we were able to experience a wonderful Retirees Day at the ASU Polytechnic campus with 100 members in attendance. We thank the many people who helped make this day a success.

Special thanks to President Doug Johnson, Activities Committee Co-chairs and Board members Mary Stevens, Val Peterson, Sue Blumer, Lou Weschler, Zeke Prust, and Wilma Mathews for their hard work and creativity! Also, the ASU Polytechnic administration and staff were most welcoming and went above and beyond to help.

David Schwalm, Dean of the ASU Polytechnic School of Applied Arts and Sciences, welcomed us and provided an interesting history and status report on the campus, its dramatic growth and dynamic programs.

The educational sessions continued our tradition of excellent and diverse topics.

During the first hour:

  • Los Valdes explained and demonstrated some of the principles of chi gong in Improve Your Well Being with Chi Gong, a 2000 year-old series of body movements and breathing exercises that are designed to calm the spirit and mind, strengthen the body, reduce stress, and improve balance and posture. Attendees also took part in the exercises.
  • Bruce Merrill, Professor Emeritus and Director of Media Research, Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication, in a fascinating and timely talk Not Politics as Usual, discussed the first really open election since the 1950s and how people internationally are excited about it. He discussed candidates' styles, the influence of the media and large corporations and the rise of independents in the U.S., among other topics.
  • Milton Sommerfeld, Professor, School of Life Science, gave a very interesting presentation on Algae: One Solution to the Energy Problem?, using various audio-visuals. He described the potential of algae for energy production among other uses.

During the second hour:

  • Jane Conrow, Librarian Emeritus, brought her beautiful Afghan hound for a presentation on Caring and Sharing: Companion and Therapy Pets. Jane explained and demonstrated how therapy pets make a positive difference in the lives of those in hospice care, nursing homes, assisted living centers and other similar situations. She explained that these animals love the attention and visiting their special friends who cannot have their own pets, what is involved in being a social pet therapy volunteer, and how to tell whether your pet is suited for this role.
  • Randall Cerveny, President's Professor, School of Geographical Sciences and Director of ASU Office of Climatology, presented, Weather Oddities, everyone's familiar everyday topic. Professor Cerveny showed how weird and wonderful the weather really is, and he had the scientific evidence to back up the claims. He maintains international records on weather occurrences as well, and reality truly surpasses any fiction one might imagine.
  • Helle Brand of Banner Alzheimer's Research Institute presented Alzheimer's Disease-Current Research, Clinical Studies and Programs for the Needs of Caregivers, a comprehensive discussion on the current knowledge about this common concern. She discussed preventive measures, diagnosis, treatments, and other pertinent topic and also discussed options and needs of caregivers.

Our lunch speaker Dennis Burke, Governor Janet Napolitano's Chief of Staff, presented an excellent overview of the current state of affairs in Arizona discussing the problems and opportunities facing the state today. The question-and-answer period continued for an extended period, and Dennis was very interested in and responsive to the questions asked. Thanks go to Jeanine L'Ecuyer of the Governor's office and Mary Stevens for help in obtaining this speaker.

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Dave Scheatzle