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The 18th annual Retirees Day Program was held on Saturday, February 26, 2011 in the Memorial Union on the Tempe campus. Over 100 people enjoyed the opportunity to connect with friends and former colleagues, to take advantage of the educational opportunities offered by our knowledgable speakers, and to be entertained by a wonderful jazz performance while enjoying a very nice luncheon. This article contains many photos of attendees and presenters, with most of the attendee photos at the bottom. The photos were taken by John McIntosh, Val Peterson, and Dave Scheatzle -- they do outstanding work! You can click on any photo to see an enlarged version of it.
As attendees arrived they were greeted by our volunteers, who were as pleasant and helpful as always.
There was plenty of time to enjoy some coffee and cake while greeting friends and colleagues before the program began.
There was a brief assembly during which everyone was officially welcomed by ASURA President Connie McNeill. International Travel Committee Chair Gary Anderson encouraged attendees to sign up for next Fall's trip to Australia and New Zealand. He is dubbing the group that goes "the boomerangs". Retirees Day Committee chair Barry McNeill offered some logistical notes and a few items that had been separated from their owners.
After the assembly, everyone headed off to one of the four first-session presentations.
Dr. M. Zuhdi Jasser spoke about the ideology that fuels Islamist terrorism, the challenges of Islamic reform work and the impact on America. He explained the purpose of the American Islamic Forum for Democracy (AIFD), of which he is President, its strategies in Islamic reform and what you can do to help. Dr. Jasser founded the AIFD so that moderate Muslims would have a voice. His belief is that the freedom of worship belongs at the top of American values, and that without separation of mosque and state true democracy cannot thrive in Muslim-dominated countries. His audience was both large and very interested in what he had to say.
Dr. Joseph R. Herkert addressed the question: "Do emerging technologies (e.g., nanotechnology, neurotechnology, biotechnology, robotics, and advanced information and communication technology) require new ethical concepts?" He said that promoters of emerging technologies seem willing to abandon traditional concepts such as the privileged role of human agency in moral decision making. Critics and ethicists, on the other hand, seem more concerned with altering the process of ethical deliberation both in terms of timeliness and participation. Pathways to an ethical middle ground have yet to be mapped. The presentation concluded with a discussion of some encouraging movement toward a middle ground, including such areas as moral imagination, anticipatory ethics, and macroethical assessment.
Helle Brand reviewed the impact and challenges of Alzheimer’s on both the person with Alzheimer’s disease and on the care giver, with a look at how the disease changes as it goes through stages.Ms. Brand is a physician assistant focusing on the “whole person experience”, which treats the body, mind and soul of patients at Banner Alzheimer’s Institute in Phoenix. She has an interest in education and counseling related to dementia. She helps caregivers learn tools for living with dementia.
Professor Max Underwood told his audience that each of us has encountered moments in life that have taken our breath away. Perceptually overwhelmed, we have paused, become quiet, and allowed ourselves to be enveloped by a resonant atmosphere of emotions, distant memories and deep reflective thought. Only then could we enter a space of silence. His talk focussed on his on-going research on silence within the arts, literature, nature and architecture. He believes that during quiet moments in the suspended peace of an ancient site, we understand that what keeps us on the road is not just our need to escape or to learn, but the power of the beauty of the infinite.
After a short break, attendees had their choice of another four stimulating presentations.
Terry Greene Sterling spoke about about the lives of undocumented immigrants in Arizona. Arizona’s violent border is the busiest gateway for illegal immigration in America, making the state ground zero for the immigration debate. No state is as hostile to the undocumented, and no city is as unwelcoming as Phoenix. Yet Phoenix is home to thousands who live in the shadows. Sterling spent over a year interviewing undocumented immigrants at the very time the controversy over SB 1070 boiled over. She shared insights from personal narratives she collected, shed light on a few of the myths in the immigration debate, and gave her thoughts on Anglo-Latino relations in post SB 1070 Arizona. Mrs. Sterling was born into a cattle-ranching family that owned ranches on both sides of the border and learned to speak Spanish at the same time she learned English.
Dr. Eduardo Pagán and Dr. Jeremy Rowe gave those who attended their presentation some background about an episode of PBS' History Detectives in which they starred. Dr. Rowe, a collector of early Southwest American images, had a hunch that his flea market find -- a leather-bound sketchbook -- might outline significant US history. Jeremy contacted PBS about its hit show, "The History Detectives," and sought the assistance of Eduardo Pagán, the detective! Together, they determined that the 1852 sketchbook, which includes drawings of what look like Southwest landscapes, were the topographical and botanical notes of an early surveyor of the Southwest. Dr. Rowe has collected, researched, and written about 19th and early 20th century photographs for twenty-five years.
Dr. Randy Ceveny discussed the weird, the wild and the unusual with regards to weather. This includes flying cows, "demon" hail, strange lightning and even what the weather of the next 10,000 years will be. Dr. Cerveny is a President’s Professor who specializes in weather and climate in the School of Geographical Sciences at Arizona State University. He is the author of two books, “Weather’s Greatest Mysteries Solved!” and of “Freaks of the Storms: The World’s Strangest Weather Stories” as well as numerous professional articles. He is currently leading the United Nations' World Meteorological Organization in an effort to compile an official listing of world weather extremes.
Dr. Dennis Hoffman is a Professor of Economics and Director of L. William Seidman Research Institute, W. P. Carey School of Business, Arizona State University. He spoke to attendees at his presentation about economic recovery. His commentary on the U.S. economy began with the reminder that when you reduce government, you reduce GDP. In our current situation, a "muted recovery is expected" as there is an expectation gap between the reality of the recovery and the investment media's expectation of the recovery. Dr. Hoffman also told attendees that from the time of President Eisenhower to now, no incumbent president has been re-elected if the Consumer Index was below 91. He concluded with "we have a big wall to climb and a long road to travel" to reach economic recovery, which he expects in three years. Until then, a lot of self-discipline is needed.
After a morning of challenging intellectual stimulation, attendees were ready for a relaxing lunch with friends, and for a very entertaining jazz performance by pianist Joel Goldenthal and vocalist Delphine Cortez from Jazz in Arizona. Before their performance Mr. Goldenthal told us about the work of Jazz in Arizona, which is to introduce this inherently American music form to young people -- to wake up their "jazz gene".
At about 2:00 p.m., President McNeill thanked all of the presenters. We really do appreciate their willingness to participate in this event! She also thanked everyone for attending, and she thanked all of those whose efforts resulted in another successful event, particularly the Retirees Day Committee: Chair Barry McNeill and members Sue Blumer, Dennis Ederer, Barbara Bradford Eschbach, Joyce Hartman Diaz, Wilma Mathews, and Evelyn Partridge. President Connie McNeill and Chair Barry McNeill were both very happy that the event had gone smoothly and was enjoyed by our members.
ASU Retirees Association
Mailing address: PO Box 873308, Tempe, AZ 85287
Physical address: Community Services Building Room 201, 200 E. Curry, Tempe, AZ