Retirees Day 2010

Gathering in Pima Room

See our Photo Gallery for more pictures by Dennis Ederer and Dave Scheatzle

The 2010 Retirees Day event was held on Saturday, 20 February 2010 at the Memorial Union on the ASU Tempe Campus. Retirees Day has been presented by ASURA every year beginning with 1994, so this was the 17th annual Retirees Day. As has been true in past years, this year's version was a resounding success, based on feedback from attendees.

There were 135 attendees at the event in addition to the 14 presenters, the keynote speaker and their guests.

These are the materials that were available to registrants:

Attendees took advantage of the pre-meeting time, during which refreshments were available, to greet and chat with colleagues.

After the refreshment period, Mary Stevens, President of ASURA, and Val Peterson, Chair of the Retirees Day Committee, welcomed everyone and made logistical announcements. Attendees were very comfortable in the theater-style seating available in Memorial Union's Pima Room, 230.

The highly-respected TV journalist and political commentator Hugh Downs was the keynote speaker and he entitled his remarks Older Then, But Younger Now. In his trademark relaxed and conversational style and remarkable presence, his speech outlined some of his far-reaching experiences. He was very entertaining and quite passionate about his philosophy of aging and the discrimination he sees exhibited toward "senior citizens" today. His thoughts and ideas are sure to be remembered by our group for many years to come.

Every presentation was well attended, which is a testament to the committee that planned the event as well as to the presenters themselves.

These were the presentations:

Mike Pasqualetti, Professor, School of Geographical Sciences and Urban Planning, spoke on Social Barriers to Renewable Energy. He argued that technical innovation and accomplishment alone are not enough to guarantee a renewable energy future. Engineering questions and social concerns must be addressed in tandem, one guiding and steering progress in the other.

Ellen Newell, Associate Director of Facilities Grounds Services / Recycling and Deborah Thirkhill, Volunteer Coordinator, Grounds Services / Arboretum presented The Arboretum at ASU: Celebrating 20 Years of Trees. They provided information about the trees and gardens at ASU, including a slideshow of beautiful campus gardens, both old and new. The entire campus at ASU was dedicated as an Arboretum 20 years ago by President Lattie Coor. It is an oasis of trees and plants from around the world. Many old trees have stories to tell like the huge old Cork Oak on Cady Mall.

Jeff Reed, travel professional and owner of Travel Club for Seniors spoke about Lesser-Known Tourist Attractions in Arizona. No doubt you have seen the major tourist attractions in Arizona, but Mr. Reed pointed out that there are off-beat and exciting lesser-known attractions that are must-sees as well, and he helped attendees discover these.

James Weinstein, Professor of Constitutional Law, Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law, ASU and author of the book, Extreme Speech and Democracy, gave a talk in which he argued that the imperative of holding those in power accountable is best achieved through news media that are free to report and citizens who are free to speak. That some speech is “extreme” comes with the territory, but it raises the question for some whether such speech should be limited by law.

Lou Weschler, Professor Emeritus, School of Public Affairs, ASU, gave a talk entitled Art as Political Communication, in which he said that art is among the most powerful political tools. The presentation, through the use of many images, explored how art conveys emotional political messages.

Marjorie Baldwin's presentation was entitled Will Health Reform Make Us Healthier? Dr. Baldwin is Director & Professor, School of Health Management and Policy, at ASU. Her thesis was that the intended (and unintended) consequences of health reform and anticipated reforms are unlikely to result in marked improvement in measures of population health such as life expectancy and infant mortality. More cost-effective reforms would address the public health issues that are the root cause of poor health outcomes.

Charlotte Fox, author of the book And Then There Was One and Patti Shelton, Attorney at Law, presented Trusts, Wills and End-of-Life Planning. They discussed what can happen when end-of-life matters are not addressed by the living and offered guidelines to consider for end-of-life preparedness. They shared some real-life examples of the negative impact of not carrying out life planning.

Len Gordon, Professor Emeritus and Dean of the Emeritus College, joined with Dick Jacob, founding Dean of the Emeritus College, ASU, and Winifred Doane, a founding member and newsletter editor of the Emeritus College, ASU, to discuss the basics of writing your personal history: where to start, what to include and mistakes to avoid. They shared both their own experiences with this type of writing and samples of their work. Their discussion was entitled, Writing Your Personal History.

The lunch was excellent, and again there was an opportunity for visiting with former colleagues, whether you knew them "when" or not.

There was truly something for almost every interest! Committee Chair Val Peterson and committee members John Bell, Sue Blumer, Dennis Ederer, Joyce Hartman Diaz, Bob Mings, Donna Portz, and Jack Sarrett spent countless hours making sure that everything would go smoothly, and they have left next year's committee with a great example and great documentation to work with.