THE UNIVERSITY OF WINNIPEG RETIREES ASSOCIATION
The beginning: Born out of the need to ensure representation for all University of Winnipeg pensioners on matters concerning their pensions when the University of Winnipeg Pension Plan transitioned from a subcommittee responsible to the Board of Regents to a Trusteed Pension Plan governed by an independent Board of Trustees, the University of Winnipeg Retirement Association, Inc. (UWRA) was established on September 19, 2001. Three years later, UWRA became a founding member of CURAC when it hosted CURAC’s founding conference in 2004. On November 4, 2008 the Association’s name was officially changed to The University of Winnipeg Retirees Association, Inc. and a new Constitution replaced the existing By-Laws.
Development: Since that nascent beginning, the UWRA has developed into an active and vibrant organization, a unified voice for retirees, a means of continuing fellowship and communication among them, a liaison between retirees and the University, a vehicle to encourage members to donate their time and resources to appropriate University activities, and a forum for discussion on topics of interest including pension issues.
Governance: At its Annual General Meeting in February a new Board of Directors is confirmed. The 2017-18 Board of Directors:
President . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Ed Byard
Vice-President/President Elect . . .Terry Hidichuk
Secretary . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Darlene Frederickson
Treasurer . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Stephen Coppinger
Member at Large . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Robert Young
Past President . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . William Rannie
UWRA currently has about 150 members. All University of Winnipeg faculty and support staff retirees, and their spouses, are eligible to join. Annual dues are $15 or a lifetime membership of $100.
Privileges: With a UWRA Member Card, members are eligible to join the University Club as an Associate Member; enjoy free access to all regular season Wesmen Basketball and Volleyball home games; appreciate various discounts on membership in the Duckworth Fitness Centre, purchases of non-textbook items from the University Bookstore; experience the Virtuosi Concert Series at special ticket pricing; and, benefit on the first registration in the U of W 55 Plus Program. The University carries all retirees on its email system and the library network.
Communication: UWRA publishes a seasonal Newsletter “In Touch” as part of its attempt to keep members informed. The Association’s e-mail address UWRA@uwinnipeg.ca and its website http://www.uwinnipeg.ca/uwra deliver current information on association activities and forwards to members timely announcements from University communications.
Activities: The Association generally meets the first Tuesday of the month from September to April. Members have the opportunity to meet with former colleagues, renew old friendships, make new ones, discuss Association business, enjoy refreshments, while listening to an interesting guest speaker on a topic of interest. The September “Meet and Greet” Luncheon generates a substantial donation of non-perishable food items for the University of Winnipeg Students Association. The December “Holiday Gathering” Luncheon collects many donations of new unwrapped toys for the Wii Chiiwaakanak Learning Centre, a community partnership which connects the University to the aboriginal and inner city communities in the neighbourhood.
UWRA participates in the annual campus United Way campaign with pensioners contributing between 19% and 24% of the funds raised in the University’s overall campaign. Also, the Association sends two representatives to the University’s annual “Preparing for Retirement Seminars” for the purpose of advising prospective retirees.
Closer to home, UWRA places a book in the University Library with “in Memoriam” book plaques bearing the names of deceased members, and donates annually to the Wesmen Scholarship Fund.
Notable Contribution: In the span of seven years, University retirees have raised over $100,000 for the Scholarship and the two Bursaries that carry the name of our Association. Established in March 2010, the Scholarship Fund (currently stands in excess of $60,000) supports students of exceptional academic performance. Established in April 2011, the Bursary Fund (currently holds just over $40,000) supports financially stressed students. Both awards recognize continuing students of proven academic ability, and both require records of sustained community service.
For more information, please visit our Website at http://www.uwinnipeg.ca/uwra.