June 24, 2014 – Founding Members Meeting

George Mason University

Minutes of the Retired Faculty Association – Founding Members Meeting

June 24, 2014, 10:04 a.m. – 11:00 a.m.

4106 University Hall

Present: Louis C Buffardi, Bob Ehrlich, Esther Elstun, Joseph Lieb, Julianne Mahler (by phone), Jane Razeghi (by phone), Janice Sutera, Terry Myers Zawacki

I.          The meeting began at 10:04 am.

II.       Fall 2014 Event Planning Overview:   (Julie Mahler)

Julie made contact with additional speakers and proposed event topics for fall 2014 and spring 2015.  Some discussion about each of the speakers and the topics ensued to provide Julie with feedback on topic interest.

Possible Action: Terry suggested that Julie might also look at the Fall for the Book schedule to see whether there are readings/presentations we’d want to promote and join with.  The schedule is at: http://fallforthebook.org/

Julie also reported a healthy attendance for the spring 2014 programs depending on the program – from 8 attendees for the May 8 program complicated by a severe rainstorm and Convocations to 35 attendees at the brunch on Feb. 23. Wine and cheese and earlier mingling time will continue for future programs.

Fall 2014 Programs under consideration:

  • Early September: Chris Jones on Potomac River ecology.  The university has a 15-person boat, and we have a 7 person boat for overflow.  He would like an early date to maximize seeing river life.  September 4? Late afternoon 5:00 or 5:30? Sunsets at 7:30.
  • Early October: Steve Pearlsteinon the loss of bipartisanship in congress or the rise of the tea party? Or an economic theme—importance or unimportance of income inequality? Thursday, October 2 (just before the election?) or 9?—to pace the dates.
  • Late October, Ken Elson, Chair of Theater Dept and director of The Mystery of Edwin Drood—a Music Hall version of the unfinished Dickens mystery that will be performed at GMU then.  He teaches a course on the history of theater perhaps will speak on the development of theater of Washington? October 30, evening.
  • Late November: Carol Mattusch—Greek or Roman architecture? Pompeii?  November 20, evening.

Program Ideas for spring 2015 (Note: none of these speakers have been contacted):

  • Richard Norton Smith—American presidency—Worked for Ford, has done recent research on First Ladies.
  • Janine Wedel—SPP—interesting work on corruption, foreign aid—
  • Monica Marcelli, who manages the greenhouses on 4th floor of  Exploratory Hall—plant genetics
  • Paulette Royt—On Native Plants and gardens

See https://rfa.gmu.edu/activities/featured-events/ for the latest details.

III.      Interest Groups:  (Bob Ehrlich)

  • Book Club is meeting regularly
  • Walking group may get started.  Action: Bob will contact Doris Block, who walks with OLLI group, about coordinating with RFA group.
  • Idea/Possible Action: Suggestion to select and offer program topics that may appeal to those registered RFA members who identify particular interest areas.  Suggest coordination among the attendees.

IV.      Website and other administrative items: (Bob Ehrlich)

  • Events/news can be sent to Bob to be posted on the website
  • Action: Bob will check with Houssein about events “rolling off” the website by expiration date so as to keep the website up-to-date
  • Notifications to 300+ retirees are now in a listserv which makes it easier to send messages to the whole group.  Discussion regarding other database platforms to keep retirees contact info.  Jane mentioned Constant Comment and eBlast for marketing to members.  Decided to continue with listserv set up by Houssein.
  • Bob takes folks off listserv/notification list by request
  • Posed question about securing President Ángel Cabrera for an event/meeting.  Suggested spring 2015 as a possibility.  Tabled until fall 2014.
  • Terry suggested we use the website to remind retired faculty about benefits, e.g., fitness center, and parking renewals.  Action: Bob will add a reminder.
  • Discussed RFA Bylaws regarding elections and terms of office. Topics included staggered terms, term of President, VP, Past President.  Action: Jane will check wording and report at next meeting.  Official terms of office begin July 1, 2014 for current officers.

   V.        Funding and Donations (Jane Razeghi)

  • Action: Will update on balance in Foundation account at next meeting. (Jane)
  • Action: Jane will follow up on National Association membership and resources and will report at the next meeting:

o   From our previous meeting: Suggested we have an institutional membership at $120.00 annually (July 1- June 30) for next year. Membership allows for up to 8 contacts.  Kathy will ask HR about covering institutional membership.

 VI.     Volunteering  (Terry Myers Zawacki)

About volunteer opportunities, Terry reported that the Writing Center has an interim director for another year, so it may not be the time to explore volunteer opportunities for retirees to tutor. There is a good list of campus volunteer opportunities on the RFA website if retirees wanted to check options for themselves: https://rfa.gmu.edu/contribute/volunteer/

VII.   Next Meeting Date:

TBD – Meeting will be held before the first RFA programming event in fall 2014

 VIII.  Adjournment:  11:00 AM