University at Albany Emeritus CenterBrief Description of the Center
We at SUNY-Albany had been struggling to create an Emeritus Center, beginning with local Campus Senate legislation in 1971-72, building more infrastructure as the years rolled on, finally envisioning an Institute of Research and Teaching which was the kernel of our present Center, which has become reality. At one time we envisioned expanding into a national center, and are pleased that is in your purview as well. Our Center came into existence with the decision of Pres. Kermit Hall to support the vision we had long kept alive within the University. President Hall suffered his fatal accident before the Center was formally opened. But Officer in Charge Susan Herbst, supported by Vice-president Bill Hedberg continued support for the Center, which was formally opened on Nov. 1, 2006. At that time Vice Chancellor and Secretary of the University John O'Connor, standing in for Chancellor Ryan, gave one of the addresses at the Opening, suggested that it was a goal of the SUNY administration that every unit of SUNY should have a Center like ours. And Judy Wishnia the UUP President of COARM (the Committee of Active Retired Members of the UUP) who also attended the opening, held our Center to be the model to be emulated.
We work through a Board of a dozen Members, and are in constant touch with some 300 emeriti in our area. Nationwide we have several thousand potential members. We have an Emeritus Research group whose members share their research with each other, and with the larger group of 300 Emeriti in the Capital area who receive emails. We are affiliated with the teaching organization, OASIS, which offers short courses (by many of our members), from one two hour seminar to those lasting four or five weeks, one seminar weekly. We have members on the OASIS Advisory committee, and its Curriculum Committee; this offers a path into a simulating kind of teaching activity for our Emeriti, once their departmental teaching has terminated. As well as other short teaching courses in several of the local libraries, and some of the Assisted Living places. Some dozen Emeriti teach offer courses regularly in this venue.
The nature of our present structure conforms to the initial vocational decision made by each of us to engage in teaching, research, and university service. We discovered that for us the obligation did not terminate with retirement, but morphed into somewhat different forms. I have spoken of the changes in research and teaching. We have not yet come to terms with the changed forms of University service.
To work within the Emeritus Center is University service. So is serving on Senate Committees; and the Senate has recognized the validity of our continuing such service, especially on the University Life Council of the Senate; and we are most assuredly a part of University Life. We have hesitated to follow the lead of Buffalo State's REV-UP program where play a part in taking up tickets at athletic contests, and such chores. At the same time our
University has broadened the definition of Emeriti to include all retirees, and so we have begun to think in that framework. One of the possibilities we have begun to consider for our retirees, including and perhaps targeting especially retirees from the Administration, is to use their expertise in advising small businesses in the Capital City area. Peter Thomas, of Central Office, has an interest which intersects that area; and it seemed to me that you referred to such an interest in your attachment. In the broadest sense, work in any charity anywhere may be the service which will broaden and deepen a human life, and be the acceptable morph of University service.
I would be very happy could you visit us, speak to our Board, or interchange ideas with us in any context and at any agreed upon time. We have been working in this area for quite a long time by now. Let us know how we can help.
Bill Reese, President SUNYA Emeritus Center Board of Directors
In response to your request for more information about the UAlbany Emeritus Center, my colleague (and Vice President) Toby Clyman, suggested that I send you the list and description of our recent and forthcoming events. You'll find them below, and it might make interesting reading for your steering committee. You'll note the great variety of subjects. Let me stress the fact that all events are actually community activities, since they are not just open to UAlbany emeriti, but to the Albany community at large.
Taking as an example the film series I currently run, the publicity for each of these films goes much beyond emeriti. I do have a list of more than two hundred filmmakers and film lovers, all part of the Albany community, who receive regular reminders and yes, some of them attend the series. Also, most of us also teach some courses for OASIS, a national organization loosely connected with the University, but mainly geared toward community seniors. We try to offer courses that involve many of them. That was certainly the case for the series of classes I just finished on The Immigrant Experience - A Journey to Becoming American. Most students in the class were part of the community at large. Still related to films, I taught at the Spectrum Theater a series of classes entitled Hollywood on the Hudson, which directly involved 18 of the best filmmakers in the Capital Region.
Practically each member of the Board whom you met would have a similar story to tell. Creating connections between old and young in the community is also one of our goals.
As for a more general view of the philosophy and goals of Our Emeritus Center, I think the message that Bill Reese, our President, sent you about a month ago, pretty well summarizes what he has to say about the Center. I am sure he won't mind if you share it with your colleagues of the committee.
PS: I realize how important your future web site will be for you, so I'll send you soon a few suggestions in that direction.
Ray Ortali, Emeritus Center Program and Communications Director
Bill Reese (President), Toby Clyman (Vice President, Treasurer), Iliana Semmler (Secretary), Ray Ortali (Program and Communications Director ), Grayce Burian (Hospitality Director), Sid Decker (University Liaison), Don Cohen, Jim Kiepper, George Hastings, Hyman Kuritz.