April 1, 2014 – Officers Meeting

George Mason University

Retired Faculty Association – Officers Meeting

April 1, 2014, 10:00 AM – 11:45 AM., 4106 University Hall, George Mason University

Present: Bob Ehrlich, Katherine Haldeman, Julianne Mahler, Janice Sutera Wolfe, Terry Myers Zawacki

Absent: Jane Razeghi

Guest: Christine Clark-Talley, Associate VP for Alumni Affairs and Executive Director of the Alumni Association at Mason. Office of Alumni Affairs serves as a conduit between alumni and the university, facilitates strong bonds of mutual loyalty, and engages alumni in meaningful service. The office is committed to providing quality service and advocacy through outreach and communication.

I.            The meeting began at 10:00 AM.

II.            Programming and Activities: (Julie)

  • Brief Report on: Tour of the night sky. March 27, 2014, 7:30-9:30 PM. Harold Geller, Observatory Director, School of Physics, Astronomy and Computational Sciences provided a lecture on Mars – Extra Terrestrial Intelligence and Multi-generational space exploration in addition to giving us a chance to peer through the telescope.  Graduate students coached us in viewing Jupiter, and later in the evening, the Orion Nebula located south of Orion’s belt where new stars are being born. 
    • There were 28 in attendance.  Wine and cheese was served.
  • Refreshment Donations Discussion: 
    • Decided to provide a basket and sign (Your donations support RFA activities) at future events to provide attendees with an easy method for contributing toward refreshments, etc.  Discussion centered on wording of the sign – donations to be made to support RFA “activities” vs. “events” or “operations.”
    • Additionally, Bob will develop a “business card” for publicizing the association at events, etc.
  • Upcoming events:
    • Thurs, April 17, 2014, 7:00-9:00 PM, The Hub/SUB2 rooms 3 & 4: The History of Old Age. Peter Stearns, Provost.
    • Thurs, May 8, 2014, 7:00-9:00 PM, Meese Conference Room, Mason Hall: The Coming Era of Cognitive Computing. Jane Snowdon, Chief Innovation Officer, IBM Federal and Director, IBM Federal Cloud Innovation Center. Cosponsored with SPACS (School of Physics, Astronomy & Computational Sciences)
    • Sun, May 18, 2014, 1:30- 3:30 PM: A walking tour of the Virginia side of Great Falls. Douglas Mose, Geology professor.  An OPTIONAL pot-luck picnic at noon.  
  • Publicity/Activities:
    • Bob will send an “announcement” email featuring The History of Old Age event and the Wellness program, Life Is What You Make It: A Concert & Conversation with Peter Buffett, Apr. 16, 7:00 pm, Center for the Arts.
    • Bob will do a follow up email regarding the Book Club

 III.  Alumni Association Overview – an inclusive membership organization (Christine Clark-Talley)

  • There are 157,000+ Mason alumni.  Chris reviewed the Alumni Association Board structure. Alumni Chapters are mainly college/school-based.


  • Alumni Affairs focuses on ways alumni can stay connected to Mason and each other.  Also, supports alumni having a “presence at the table” for discussion and decision-making at the university.
  • Financial considerations:
    • Nationally, trends are away from “dues-based” organizations because of the increasing expense of recruiting and sustaining members with opportunities and services.  Mason Alumni Association has not been dues-based during Chris’ tenure.
    • Noted that tax deductions are different for “donations” and “donations that provide food and services in return” for the donations
    • Alumni can donate to support activities, programs, and operations.
    • “Operations” gifts are expected of all Board members and others are encouraged to give to Alumni Association operations.  Such supporting gifts build the infrastructure and foundation for operations.
  • Events and other benefits of Alumni Association:
    • Alumni events/programs are “pay as you go…” or may be sponsored.
    • Volunteers contribute their time and talent toward logistics, community and fellowship, and life-long learning opportunities.
    • Participation is fluid and fun
    • The website and alumni directory support networking and clearinghouse functions.
  • Alumni Association scholarships are “endowed” and “current use.”  It takes $25,000 to endow a scholarship which can be raised over a 5-year period and pays out incrementally.  See Office of University Advancement for further info: http://giving.gmu.edu/s/1564/GID2/giving/start.aspx?sid=1564&gid=2&pgid=405


IV.            Motto Discussion – a general discussion regarding a motto

  • The challenge is to make retired faculty feel like they have a presence at the university even after they retire. So the motto would try to capture the idea that the RFA offers opportunities for fellowship, life-long learning, connections to other retired colleagues, and so on.
  • The tag line might also include something about it being an all-volunteer organization and that the website is a community building space, a clearinghouse that offers information about all things relevant to retirees from Mason.
  • Terry and Janice will draft wording for a website update before the next RFA meeting.


V.            Possible Fall Programs / Ideas (Julie)


VI.            Next Meeting Date for Officers and Founding Members:

Tuesday, June 24, 2014, 10 AM – noon, 4104 University Hall

Agenda items may include:

  • report on number of new Mason retirees (Kathy)
  • report on spring events (Julie)
  • report on funding/donations (Jane)
  • report on “active” membership and interest groups, e.g., book club


VII.            Meeting ended:  11:45 PM