HISTORY OF THE UNIVERSITY OF KENTUCKY
ASSOCIATION OF EMERITI FACULTY
1988 to Present
In 1987, under the auspices of Roberta James, then director of the UK Council on Aging, five recently retired faculty members met to consider the possibility of establishing an association for UK retirees. Involved were Gifford Blyton, Communications; Paul Oberst, Law; Fannie Miller, Education; Don Ivy, Music; and Jean Pival, English. As a first task, they researched other such organizations: their institutional affiliation, degree of independence, and membership patterns. After an extensive search, they found that there is no definite pattern; some originated from institutional benefits offices, some were independent, some were open to all retirees- faculty and staff.
Sensing little interest for such a project from UK offices, the committee opted for an independent association. First, they needed to determine interest in the project. Financially backed by the Council on Aging, the group distributed a questionnaire to about one hundred faculty retirees. The findings from that mailing verified interest in an organization that would provide a venue for continued professional and social interaction with other retirees, but would also serve as a watchdog of retiree rights and privileges. After much debate, the committee determined that membership in the organization should primarily be faculty, but open to staff retirees who had close relationship with students or educational programs.
In 1988, the committee formulated the association by-laws which included its three-pronged purpose: to enable retirees and their surviving spouses to maintain an association with the University; to promote common interests; and to be of service to the University and its educational goals. Dues were set for $15 annually, which also included spouses as members. The officers and chairs of the standing committees serve as an Executive Committee which meets prior to each membership meeting and once in the summer. Elections are held once a year at the spring membership meeting.
In September 1988, the association held its first meeting which included a speaker, followed by a business meeting. Since then, using that same format, the organization has met four times each year. Four newsletters per year announce meetings and keep members informed of pertinent activities of the organization and of university decisions that will impact retirees, such as retiree benefits.
In 1994, then treasurer Sydney Ulmer and Jean Pival, with the help of Fred Whiteside, a retiree from the UK College of Law, led the Association effort to become a non-profit entity, which allowed for bulk-mailing and tax-free purchases.
In 1995, at the suggestion of Michael Adelstein and Paul Oberst, the Association voted to set up a scholarship or fellowship for doctoral students who plan to teach at the college/university level. In 2002, thanks in large part to sizable contributions by William Wagner and Juan Hernandez, the Association in collaboration with the Development Office set up an endowed fund of $50,000 which was matched by the Commonwealth of Kentucky Research Challenge Trust Fund (Bucks for Brains). The Fellowship fund of $100,000 is administered by the Graduate School, with direct input from the Association. An AEF committee evaluates the fellowship applications and chooses the winners. Each year, the Association, through donations from members, adds to the Fellowship fund. Because of this project, UKAEF was designated a UK Fellow. From January 1996 through January 2015, 59 fellowships, $1,000 to $2,500 amounting to a total of $84,500.00 in gifts were awarded.
In 1993, the Association began a study of university-based retirement centers. Acting on a news item sent to the Executive Committee by Lila Boyarsky, an ad hoc committee was set up, chaired by her. The committee charge was to research facilities connected to other universities and to test the interest of UK retirees and the University in such an enterprise. In 1998, the committee joined forces with Ed Carter, coordinator of the Coldstream Project. At that time, the University offered land on Coldstream Farm for a three-tiered retirement facility. Although contracts were drawn up with the Evergreen Heritage Group from Louisville, the Board of Trustees never voted on the project. In 2004, President Lee Todd rejuvenated the effort and a committee chaired by Jack Blanton was commissioned to choose a company to build a three-tiered, life-long learning facility. Praxeis was chosen and, after several false starts for a location, they chose land between Brannon Crossing and Ashgrove Pike for the project. Praexis did not successfully obtain financial commitments from interested faculty for a variety of reasons. The location of the proposed facility seemed to isolate members from their valued connections to U.K. and perceived over-charges for the units were cited as reasons for the reluctance to make down-payment commitments to the project. In addition, the 2008-09 recession led to the project demise.
Members of the Association have from its inception been actively involved with University functions-teaching and tutoring, working with students on projects, reading undergraduate applications for scholarships and Medical School admissions, serving on graduate student committees, assisting with fund drives, recording for the blind, helping in the libraries, fund-raising for the library, serving on committees that deal with retiree benefits, participating in UK community outreach programs, U.K. Medical School and Sanders-Brown Aging studies, and in the Elder-Link Mentorship Initiative with undergraduates who are taking gerontology classes.
In accordance with its by-laws to promote common interests, UKAEF has worked diligently with the Benefits Committee. Its members (Robert Stroup and Michael Tearney) have served on special committees to protect retiree benefits; have championed parking privileges for retirees; have lobbied the legislature to prevent passage of a bill that would tax TIAA-CREF; and have successfully petitioned for a voting seat on the UK Senate and the Employee Benefits Committee.
Retired faculty (from a wide range of disciplines) have held offices in UKAEF.
Presidents: Gifford Blyton (Communications) 1988-89; Jean Pival,(English) 1989-1990; Harriett Rose (Psychology & Testing) 1990-1991; Richard Anderson (Statistics) 1991-92, 1992-1993; Thomas Ford (Sociology) 1993-94, 1994-95; Beatrice Gaunder (Nursing) 1995-1996, 1996-1997; William Wagner (Chemistry) 1997-98, 1998-1999; John Shawcross (English) 1999-2000; 2000-01; Theodore Guiglia (Medicine) 2001-2002; 2002-2003; Jacqueline Noonan (Pediatrics) 2003-2004; 2004-2005; Robert Straus (Behavioral Science) 2005-06; Thomas Lillich (Oral Health) 2006-2007, 2007-08; Mary Witt (Horticulture) 2008-09; James Wells (Mathematics) 2009-10; William Green (Laryngology) 2010-2011; Bradley Canon (Political Science) 2011-12; Thomas Garrity (Behavioral Science) 2012-13; Lee Edgerton (Animal Sciences) 2013-14; Austin Cantor (Animal Sciences) 2014-15; Susan Abbott-Jamieson (Anthropology) 2015-16.
Treasurers: Don Ivy (Music) 1988-94; Sydney Ulmer (Political Science) 1994-96; Beth Hicks (Nursing) 1996-97; Kurt Anschel (Ag.Economics) 1997-99; William Stober (Economics) 1999-2012; James Chapman (Chancellor Office Administration) 2012-2015; Marty Solomon (Computer Science) 2015 to present.
Recording Secretary: Michael Adelstein (English) 1988-89; Jean Pival (English) 1989-2008; Thomas Blues (English) 2008-09; and Ed Sagan (Education) 2009-12; Bradley Canon (Political Science), 2012 to present.
Executive Secretary: Jean Pival (English) 1989-2012; Sue Fosson (College of Medicine Administration) and Mary Witt (Horticulture) 2012 to present.
Administrative Consultant (beginning 2006): Casie Clements.