By Bonnie Brown
In September 2006, Dr. Gloria Kellum met with Dr. Will St. Amand, retired professor of biology, and Ms. Bonnie Brown, retired assistant registrar, to discuss the University of Mississippi retirees and their relationship with the university. In her position as Vice Chancellor for University Relations, it was her desire to insure that the retirees remain connected to the university.
They began by reviewing the list of retirees provided by the University’s Human Resources Department and after review, found that the list needed updating. Dr. Kellum then asked Dr. St. Amand and Ms. Brown to continue to systematically review the list and update it with assistance from human resources. Kellum, St. Amand, and Brown asked then-Chancellor Robert Khayat to host a reception and open house in the newly-renovated Lyceum. Over 80 retirees and their families attended the open house on October 15, 2006. Friendships were renewed and it was obvious that the retirees still felt a deep commitment and attachment to Ole Miss.
Based on the positive response, the Retiree Initiative Group (RIG) was formed. The members included Ron and Beth Bartlett, Dana and Jean Brammer, Bonnie Brown, Margaret Fields, Gloria Kellum, Michael and Carole Landon, Vicki Martin, Will St. Amand, Laura and Damon Wall. The RIG continued to meet and update the list of retirees. They went on to host two Sunday brunches at Johnson Commons on April 27, 2007 and again on January 27, 2008. Another event was a presentation at The Depot on May 17, 2007, by Ian Banner, Director of Facilities Planning and University Architect, who spoke about the long-term vision for the university’s land and facilities. The presentation was followed by a wine and cheese reception.
Bylaws were written and adopted and the Ole Miss Faculty/Staff Retirees Association was formalized in 2008. Membership includes all university retirees and spouses. There are no dues and no other requirements for membership in the Retirees Association.
The Ole Miss Faculty/Staff Retirees Association logo was designed by the late Dr. Ron Bartlett, Professor of Modern Languages. Dr. Bartlett graduated from Brigham Young University with a Ph.D. in German Language and Literature, and was referred to as “the “Stormin’ Mormon from Utah” in a February 5, 2018, Hotty Toddy article penned by Paul Crutcher who is a Supervisory Special Agent with the FBI living and working in Virginia and an Ole Miss 1983 journalism graduate.
The Association is governed by a Board of Directors with representation from each Equal Employment Opportunity (EEO) Category, and an Executive Committee comprised of a Chair, Chair-Elect, Secretary/Treasurer, and Program Chair. The Board meets quarterly. The Association falls under the auspices of the Ole Miss Alumni Association and receives funding from the university to carry out its mission.
The Retirees Association is also a member of the Association of Retirement Organizations in Higher Education (AROHE). Ole Miss is the only institution in Mississippi to be a member of AROHE. Within the Southeastern Conference (SEC), only Missouri and Ole Miss are members of AROHE.
The mission of the organization is to enable all of the university’s faculty and staff retirees to maintain and promote a close association with the university. It is the goal of the Ole Miss Faculty/Staff Retirees Association to maintain communication by providing opportunities to attend and participate in events and presentations. These have included an annual presentation by a representative of the Public Employees’ Retirement System (PERS), local events such as a tour of campus, a tour of the Toyota plant, fish fries, an annual dinner hosted by the Chancellor, and an annual holiday brunch in December among others.
The Executive Committee is comprised of Brenda Brannan, Chair; Ron Kitchens, Chair-Elect; Ann Canty, Secretary/Treasurer, and Bonnie Curtis and Barbara Smith, Co-Program Chairs.
For more information, please contact Bonnie Brown (firstname.lastname@example.org).